Natividad town bans home birthing

NATIVIDAD—This town recently passed an ordinance banning home birthing, traditional birth attendants (hilot) to deliver babies and requires only professional health practitioners to deliver babies only in health facilities.

Councilor Rose Ann Rafael, author of the measure, said the town must aim to reduce and eliminate the cases of maternal and neonatal deaths to avoid complications and risks brought about by childbirth outside an authorized health care facility.

She maintained that when expectant mothers opt to seek the services of traditional birth attendants called “hilot” or “kumadrona,” complications may always arise that can pose danger to the mother and infant when giving birth at home since there are no adequate emergency facilities and equipment

“Every pregnancy is wanted, planned and supported. Every pregnancy is adequately managed throughout its course. Every delivery is facility-based and managed by skilled birth attendant. Every mother and newborn care secure proper postpartum and post-natal care,” she added in the ordinance.

Citing a UNICEF study, Rafael said one of the many factors in the maternal or fetal deaths in the Philippines is the common Filipino practice of giving birth outside a health facility.

The study added that eight out of 10 births in rural and urban poor areas are delivered outside a health facility and in the absence of medical professionals like doctors, nurses and midwives.

Most of these deliveries are home-based and attended by unprofessional attendants, commonly known as “hilot” or ‘kumadrona, it also said.

The ordinance also cited hypertension, hemorrhage and unsafe abortion are the three major causes of maternal mortality and these can be prevented through adequate professional medical care.

Violators of the ordinance shall be penalized with fines: P1,500, P2,000 and P2,500 each for the first, second and third offense respectively. (Tita Roces)

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