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PHASE are currently in a Global Giving Gateway Challenge Competition to Raise to support women like Sukmaya, please show you support here – http://www.globalgiving.co.uk/pr/10100/proj10001a.html

On average, about one in twenty five babies are still positioned with their feet or bottom first in their mum’s womb at the time they are born.  Even in the developed world, this makes the birth much more dangerous for the baby (and also slightly more for the mother).  In most rich countries these babies are delivered by caesarean section, particularly if they are the first child.

In Nepal, a breech birth very often means a stillbirth – without access to a trained health worker to ease the baby out gently and effectively, complications are often fatal.  PHASE health workers receive training on breech births as it is essential they can support mothers in the villages with this complication.

Sukmaya Gurung was 19 and living in Sridibas Village, Gorkha district, she was expecting her first child.  Sukmaya was well aware of the dangers of childbirth, her older sister had had a stillborn baby just two years before.  The baby had come feet first and there was nobody trained to help with the birth.  Two older women from the village, who were supporting her tried to help, but didn’t have any training or expertise.  When the little boy was born, he wouldn’t breathe.  Sukmaya’s sister in law had since had another health child, a girl, who was born head first, but she still mourned her first born son.

When it was Sukmaya’s time to have her first baby, PHASE had started work in the nearby health post, and the PHASE Auxiliary Nurse Midwife had identified that her baby was also feet first. Sukmaya was really scared but she couldn’t follow the advice to go to Gorkha to have her baby there, her husband was in the Indian army, her brother in law worked in Malaysia, neither had sent money for a while and her parents were very elderly. Who would take her? Who would look after the rest of the family while she was away? And how would they be able to afford it all?

The PHASE health workers saw Sukmaya every week towards the later stages of pregnancy and repeated that she must call them when she went into labour. Although her labour pains started in the middle of the night, her neighbour’s son walked for an hour and a half to the health post to rouse the health workers.  They arrived just before dawn. Everything progressed well, and they were able to tell her even before he was born that she had a little son.

It was a brought great happiness to Sukmaya and the whole family when he was born easily with the ANMs’ gentle help and cried vigorously as soon as they dried him off – a very happy outcome for everyone!

PHASE are currently in a Global Giving Gateway Challenge Competition to Raise to support women like Sukmaya, please show you support here – http://www.globalgiving.co.uk/pr/10100/proj10001a.html

Written by Dr Gerda Pohl