Birth Preparedness and Complication Readiness for pregnant
women in Bikita district: Barriers and facilitators.
Birth preparedness and complication readiness (BP/CR) is a process of planning for birth and anticipating actions to take in case of obstetric complications. It promotes timely utilization of skilled maternal and neonatal care, based on the assumption that preparing for child birth and being ready for complications reduces delay in obtaining this care (MNH, 2004, JHIECO, 2004).
The Birth preparedness plan is to be drafted for each client during the antenatal period, in a collaborative effort by the pregnant woman and her family /community with guidance of the Health Care Provider WHO listed it as an essential part of the antenatal care package to promote the timely use of skilled maternal and neonatal care. The ANC booklet has a table with components of the plan that HCWs should discuss with the pregnant women. As these ANC booklets are not widely available, this register / checklist mechanism does not work for many. According to WHO, BP/CR plans contain the following elements:
- desired place of birth
- preferred birth attendant
- location of the closest facility for birth and in case of complications
- funds for any expenses
- supplies and materials to bring to the facility
- an identified labour and birth companion
- an identified support person to look after other children at home
- identified transport to a facility for birth or in case of complications
- identification of compatible blood donors if needed (WHO,2006)
The current consensus of those working in safe motherhood is that, if people are aware of the importance of having care from a skilled birth and plan accordingly for costs and other support they need in these circumstances, delay in obtaining care can be reduced. Though little empirical evidence exists as yet that shows a direct correlation between birth preparedness and reducing maternal and / or perinatal mortality and morbidity, limited and small-scale studies suggest that there is considerable benefit to be gained from this intervention