Posted: Sun 2nd Oct 2016

Kate Discovers Why South African Mums Shun Natural Births

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Sunday, Oct 2nd, 2016

A SOUTH Wales graduate has been on a journey of discovery to find out why mums in South Africa shun natural births in favour of caesarean delivery. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Kate Jones, 21, from Bridgend, who recently gained first-class honours in her midwife degree at the University of South Wales (USW), spent a month meeting new mums in the area around the country’s capital, Cape Town. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The former pupil of Ysgol Brynteg in Bridgend took the trip as part of her studies, and received a £1,000 travel scholarship from the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“I spent a lot of time in Africa as a child, my father is treasurer of charity Tŷ Cariad Africa in Uganda and I also had family in Zambia, so I really wanted to go to South Africa to look at this,” Kate explained. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The country has a massive rate of caesarean births – in many places it’s between 70% and 90% – and I was keen to find out why.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Kate discovered that the cultural norm was for women to choose a caesarean birth, and this was backed up by the views of other mums. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“South Africa is very different from the UK, in the fact that expectant mums see doctors throughout their pregnancy,” she said. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

kate_livery-width-300 ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“This means that the women have the chance to opt for a caesarean, even if it’s not necessary. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Add to this the peer pressure that many feel – having a natural birth is seen as out of the ordinary – then the figures aren’t all that surprising. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Here, doctors only get involved if there are complications and midwives take responsibility for the majority of the care.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Now back in the UK and waiting for final accreditation before starting her work as a midwife with Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, Kate has used the South Africa visit to help expand her knowledge of different cultural approaches to childbirth. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“I wasn’t sure what I would discover, but it was interesting to see how what we do in the UK can be very different to what happens in other countries,” Kate said. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The trip was a real eye-opener, and helped me further develop my skills as I start my career in the health service.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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