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On-line version ISSN 2223-6279
Print version ISSN 0379-8577

Curationis vol.32 n.2 Pretoria  2009




Effect, of waterbirths and traditional bedbirths on outcomes for neonates



HB Ros

M. (Cur).School of Nursing, University of Johannesburg





When women are pregnant, some plan to have waterbirths and other plan to have traditional bedbirths. Therefore some neonates will be born under water and other neonates out of the water on a bed. It is unclear what the outcomes for the neonates are after these two types of deliveries. The research goals of this study were to explore and describe the outcomes for neonates after waterbirths (group A) and traditional bedbirths (group B) and to generate hypotheses based on the outcomes for neonates after waterbirths and traditional bedbirths that need to be tested in subsequent research studies. The design was an explorative descriptive survey. The mothers were purposefully selected to participate in the research study. They had to be healthy, low-risk pregnant women with a single pregnancy and a cephalic presentation. They had to be 37 to 42 weeks pregnant. Group A delivered their neonates at two private hospitals in Gauteng and group B delivered their neonates at a government hospital in Gauteng. Data was collected during labour, just after the delivery, two hours after the delivery and 14 days after the delivery. A data collection instrument was used. The following neonatal outcomes were measured: Apgar score at one and five minutes, axillary temperature, pH-, haemoglobin- and sodium levels of the umbilical cord blood, the neurological condition of the neonate as reflected by the primitive reflexes and neonatal morbidity until 14 days after birth. Descriptive analysis was used to analyse the data. It appeared if group A had higher Apgar scores, neonatal temperatures and umbilical cord blood haemoglobin levels and lower sodium umbilical cord blood levels than group B. The umbilical cord blood pH levels, neonatal morbidity and primitive reflexes of both groups appeared equal. Group B needed more resuscitation of the neonate directly after birth than group A. Hypotheses were generated that need to be tested in subsequent research.

Key words: Waterbirth, traditional bedbirth, neonate, midwife, midwife obstetric unit



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Hilde B. Ros
959 Hertzog street
Rietfontein, 0084
Tel: (012) 331-0196; Cell: 083 605 8748

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