Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Impact of Zambian Maternal Nursing

As we carry on with our Lewanika Hospital rotations I have found myself within the maternity unit. I was privileged with the opportunity to work in maternity this summer and therefore felt I had had some experience under my belt. Canadian maternal nursing I am familiar with, Zambian I am not.

The environment within the ward is a complete transition. Women labour in a two-bed room, lying on top of a plastic sheet. Technology is absent from this room and therefore the usual sound of the fetal heartbeat or a call bell is replaced by silence with the occasional deep breath or moan. The mother must provide linens, pads and diapers, and for one premature mother this meant scrounging up a pillowcase to wrap her newborn in. Epidurals and Demerol are not an option; in fact there is no form of analgesia provided to these mothers. With all of this into consideration, I have witnessed 5 births in two days and they have been some of the most peaceful experiences of my life! Although cesarean sections are an option, they are rarely employed and therefore mothers must be confident in their god given ability to give birth.

I feel as if in Canada women have forgotten about this ability. Planned cesarean sections and requested epidurals are frequently seen within our hospitals. Women rely on doctors to deliver their children, lacking confidence in their body’s ability to take control. I am not denying that these interventions are necessary and required at times but through my experiences here I have regained faith in our ability to give birth without these inventions.

Lots of love sent out to all my family and friends following this blog,
-Kirsten LeDuke

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