Filipina mothers' perceptions about childbirth at home

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The maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the Philippines has not dropped significantly since the Millennium Development Goals were established by the World Health Organization in 2000 to decrease MMR by 75% by 2015. Authorities have attributed high MMRs in developing countries to the absence of professional birth attendants during childbirth.

Aim and study design:

The aim of this qualitative study was to describe perceptions of using a traditional birth attendant among Filipina women from less urban Iloilo neighbourhoods in the Philippines who used a traditional birth attendant for their deliveries. Qualitative interviews and confirmatory visits were done with 26 Filipina mothers from three municipalities peripheral to Iloilo City.


Conventional content analysis revealed themes (patterns) of (1) mothers' folk beliefs (for the welfare of my baby, during labor, trust in God), (2) mothers' care for… (healthy pregnancy, recovery after childbirth), and (3) preference for childbirth at home with paltera– a traditional birth attendant – (no money, personal comfort, unfriendly hospitals).


Transferability of these findings encompassed relatively rural areas near Iloilo City. Findings revealed the significance of economics on Filipina mothers' preference for a traditional birth attendant during childbirth. Mothers voiced professionals' behaviour and attitudes as another deterrence. Cultural practices of mothers were categorized into harmless, beneficial and harmful. A second phase of this research programme will address perceptions of professional birth attendants from the same municipalities.

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