The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of maternal and newborn-care practices among women reporting a birth in the previous year in three districts in different divisions of Bangladesh. In 2003, 6,785 women, who had delivered a newborn infant in the previous year, across three districts in Bangladesh, were interviewed. Overall, less than half of the women received any antenatal care, and 11% received a minimum of four check-ups. Only 18% took iron tablets for at least four months during pregnancy. Over 90% of the 6,785 deliveries took place at home, and only 11% were attended either by a doctor or by a nurse. The mothers reported three key hygienic practices in 54% of deliveries: attendants washing their hands with soap and boiling cord-tie and blade for cutting the cord. Forty-four percent of the 6,785 infants were bathed immediately after delivery, and 42% were given colostrum as their first food. The results suggest that maternal and newborn-care remains a cause of concern in rural Bangladesh. Short-term policies to promote healthy behaviour in the home are needed, in addition to the long-term goal of skilled birth attendance.
Barnett, S.; Azad, K.; Barua, S.; Mridha, M.; Abrar, M.; Rego, A.; Khan, A.; Flatman, D.; Costello, A. Maternal and Newborn-care Practices during Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Postnatal Period: A Comparison in Three Rural Districts in Bangladesh. Journal of Health, Population and Nutrition (2006) 24 (4) 394-402.