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Giving birth safely in rural Rwanda

Uwurukundo is barely 24 hours old. Beatrice smiles as she breastfeeds him in the brightly-painted room at the new Maternity Ward in Kirambo. She looks as though she has fully recovered from giving birth.

“This was my third baby so I have some experience” she explains, “and it was so much easier this time giving birth at the maternity ward. I know because my two daughters were born at home.”

Care at a crucial time

Save the Children has built a maternity ward in Kirambo which is now ready to support pregnant mothers. As their due date approaches, mothers-to-be come to the health centre where there’s waiting room for them to rest.

When the time comes they give birth in one of two equipped delivery rooms with skilled birth attendants; then they can recover in a safe environment in the room for post-partum care.

Being prepared for a big day

Before they even give birth, pregnant women are provided with antenatal care. Each woman attends a minimum of four separate sessions during where they’re given professional advice about how to manage their pregnancy, the importance of eating nutritious foods, not carrying out manual labour, how to prepare for birth, etc.

These sessions provide an important space for pregnant mothers to share experiences as well as learn. They’re facilitated by community health workers, who strongly encourage husbands to attend so they can better support their wives.

“I think my labour was short partly because I had peace of mind – I just wasn’t worried about giving birth this time because I was at the health centre”, says Beatrice.

 

Taking control

Beatrice says she’s very proud of Uwurukundo and is happy to have had a son. However, she and her husband have decided that he will be their last child. “Three is enough!” she laughs. It was during the antenatal care sessions at Kirambo that she and her husband learned about family planning methods, and have chosen one which suits them.

The buildings and equipment of the Kirambo Maternity Ward make such a difference with their trained health workers, good facilities, and a safe environment for giving birth – it is a great start for Beatrice and Uwurukundo.

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