A qualitative study about the gendered experiences of motherhood and perinatal mortality in mountain villages of Nepal: Implications for improving perinatal survival

Mohan Paudel, Sara Javanparast, Gouranga Dasvarma, Lareen Newman

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Abstract

Background
We aim to examine the gendered contexts of poor perinatal survival in the remote mountain villages of Nepal. The study setting comprised two remote mountain villages from a mid-western mountain district of Nepal that ranks lowest on the Human Development Index (0.304), and is reported as having the lowest child survival rates in the country.
Methods
The findings are taken from a larger study of perinatal survival in remote mountain villages of Nepal, conducted through a qualitative methodological approach within a framework of social constructionist and critical theoretical perspectives. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with 42 women and their families, plus a range of healthcare providers (nurses/auxiliary nurses, female health volunteers, support staff, Auxiliary Health Worker and a traditional healer) and other stakeholders from February to June, 2015. Data were analysed with a comprehensive coding process utilising the thematic analysis technique.
Results
The social construction of gender is one of the key factors influencing poor perinatal survival in the villages in this study. The key emerging themes from the qualitative data are: (1) Gendered social construct and vulnerability for poor perinatal survival: child marriages, son preference and repeated child bearing; (2) Pregnancy and childbirth in intra-familial dynamics of relationships and power; and (3) Perception of birth as a polluted event: birth in Gotha (cowshed) and giving birth alone.
Conclusions
Motherhood among women of a low social position is central to women and their babies experiencing vulnerabilities related to perinatal survival in the mountain villages. Gendered constructions along the continuum from pre-pregnancy to postnatal (girl settlement, a daughter-in-law, ritual pollution about mother and child) create challenges to ensuring perinatal survival in these villages. It is imperative that policies and programmes consider such a context to develop effective working strategies for sustained reduction of future perinatal deaths.
Original languageEnglish
Article number163
Number of pages18
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2018

Keywords

  • Motherhood
  • Perinatal survival
  • Mountain
  • Childbirth
  • Gender
  • Nepal

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