Preferences for formal and traditional sources of childbirth and postnatal care among women in rural Africa: A systematic review

Autoři: Arone Wondwossen Fantaye aff001;  Nathali Gunawardena aff002;  Sanni Yaya aff003
Působiště autorů: Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada aff001;  Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada aff002;  The George Institute, University of Oxford, Oxford, England, United Kingdom aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(9)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222110



The underutilization of formal, evidence-based maternal health services continues to contribute to poor maternal outcomes among women living in rural Africa. Women’s choice of the type of maternal care they receive strongly influences their utilization of maternal health services. There is therefore a need to understand rural women’s preferred choices to help set priorities for initiatives attempting to make formal maternal care more responsive to women’s needs. The aim of this review was to explore and identify women’s preferences for different sources of childbirth and postnatal care and the factors that contribute to these preferences.


A systematic literature search was conducted using the Ovid Medline, Embase, CINAHL, and Global Health databases. Thirty-seven studies that elicited women’s preferences for childbirth and postnatal care using qualitative methods were included in the review. A narrative synthesis was conducted to collate study findings and to report on patterns identified across findings.


During the intrapartum period, preferences varied across communities, with some studies reporting preferences for traditional childbirth with traditional care-takers, and others reporting preferences for a formal facility-based childbirth with health professionals. During the postpartum period, the majority of relevant studies reported a preference for traditional postnatal services involving traditional rituals and customs. The factors that influenced the reported preferences were related to the perceived need for formal or traditional care providers, accessibility to maternal care, and cultural and religious norms.


Review findings identified a variety of preferences for sources of maternal care from intrapartum to postpartum. Future interventions aiming to improve access and utilization of evidence-based maternal healthcare services across rural Africa should first identify major challenges and priority needs of target populations and communities through formative research. Evidence-based services that meet rural women’s specific needs and expectations will increase the utilization of formal care and ultimately improve maternal outcomes across rural Africa.

Klíčová slova:

Africa – Birth – Culture – Labor and delivery – Maternal health – Postnatal care – Qualitative studies – Religion


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