A community survey of newborn care practices in rural India

Balwan Singh Dhillon, Shalini Singh, Nomita Chandhiok, Chander Shekhar


Background: There are a high proportion of home deliveries in rural India. The present study was carried out to assess newborn care practices among home births and reasons for delivering at home.

Methods: A community based cross sectional survey of recently delivered mothers (<6 months) with at least one living child was carried out in 28 districts of 14 states.

Results: A total of 4274 women delivered at home and 45.9% deliveries were conducted by untrained personnel (dais 24.0%, relatives/friends/neighbors 21.9%), trained dais 48.2% and ANMs/LHVs/doctors 5.9%. New blade was used for cutting the cord by trained dai (80.7%), untrained dais (75.5%) whereas ANMs/LHVs/doctors used either new blade (64.7%) or scissors (14.7%). Use of boiled cord tie was reported among 98.8% deliveries conducted by ANMs/LHVs/doctors, 96.6% trained dais and 96.3% untrained dais. 32.5% ANMs/LHVs/doctors, 28.3% trained dais and 26.2% untrained dais left the cord dry without any application. Main reasons for delivering at home were ‘client/social/family' related (85.9%) and ‘facility/provider’ related (21.7%). Nearly 93.3% of the new borns were given their first bath within 24 hours of birth including 77.3% within 3 hours of birth. 38.2% mothers initiating breast feeding within 24 hours of birth and within one hour 6.0% mothers only.

Conclusions: There is a need for improving community awareness to promote institutional deliveries and improve health system to satisfy demands of birthing women. When home birth is inevitable, families should be encouraged to engage skilled birth attendant to provide better newborn care.


Dais, Home deliveries, India, Rural

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