Let’s talk about it: A young couple plans pregnancy and childbirth – Part 6

    | June 22, 2009

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    In this sixth instalment, we meet the couple in the eighth month of pregnancy. As her belly grows, the mother-to-be is tired, but tells us how she is following the midwife’s advice to exercise. She is also thinking about who will help her with household chores once the baby has been born. The father-to-be explains their plans to get to the hospital – which is 10 kilometres away – when his wife begins to have labour pains.

    In coming weeks, the series will continue in FRW’s Script of the Week section. We will follow the couple through the completion of pregnancy and the birth of their child, learning important lessons about how couples can make decisions about maternal health and child care along the way.

    Notes to broadcaster

    When couples are expecting a child, many men and women are uncomfortable talking about issues such as child care, pregnancy, delivery, and the role of men and women in these issues. In some cultures, the husband is the primary person with whom a pregnant woman would discuss such matters; neighbours or close friends can also be involved.

    In other cultures, female elders, midwives, and the mother-in-law have a special role to play in encouraging discussion and providing advice to the pregnant woman. Today, however, younger women frequently do not want to follow their advice, even when they advise women to go to a health facility for care.

    To talk about these issues, we have visited a couple in a village in Arusha district, Tanzania. They were married one year ago, and have made plans, including how they can make their life prosperous and take care of their children.

    This script contains eight separate interviews with the couple, spanning a period from before the wife was pregnant until after the child is born. There are several ways to use this script. You could use it as a guide to interviewing an expectant couple in your own area. Read closely through the kinds of questions and issues in the interviews. Find out how couples in your area prepare for childbirth. Who makes the decisions? Do husbands and wives discuss these issues together? You may also choose to air these interviews as they are, making adaptations to your local situation. The eight interviews could be aired for eight days in a row, or once a week for eight weeks.

    This script is based on actual interviews. If you choose to use voice actors to represent the couple who are being interviewed, please make sure to tell your audience at the beginning of the program that the voices are those of actors, not the original people involved in the interview, and that the program has been adapted for your local audience, but is based on a real interview.

    Also, some of the cultural customs and traditions followed by the couple and their families may be different than those of your listening audience. Feel free to adapt the script to the cultural context of your listening audience. Or you could present the story as occurring in a different culture with different values and traditions.

    The sixth interview – the eighth month of pregnancy

    Neighbouring mother

    Presenter: Women and men should be encouraged to discuss issues related to pregnancy and childbirth, and ?specifically issues such as saving funds for delivery, attending the pre-birth or antenatal clinic, caring for the mother during pregnancy, and developing a plan to reach a health facility when labour begins. When these issues are not discussed nor planned beforehand, couples are unprepared for delivery of the baby. The long distances to health facilities and the lack of transport are very difficult obstacles for some pregnant women and married couples, and many do not even consider trying to reach a health facility if labour begins at night.

    We are back with the family who are now in their eighth month of pregnancy. What preparations have they made so far? Our producer visited the couple again, and here is their talk.

    Signature tune up. Hold 10 seconds and fade out.

    Producer: Mum, tell us what the midwife says about your health in this eighth month of your pregnancy?

    Wife: My development is good and the baby is playing. But she told me that I have to make sure that I am exercising.

    Producer: What kind of exercise are you doing?

    Wife: I am just walking some kilometres, not quickly – I am trying to walk slowly.

    Producer: And how is Papa? Is he accompanying you in this exercise?

    Wife: When he comes home, sometimes we walk together.

    Producer: Papa, I think mum or your wife is tired these days. Are you comfortable walking with her?

    Husband: I am comfortable walking with her. (Sound of cow) Walking with her is not being idle or having nothing to do. If we walk slowly and talk, we feel refreshed when we come home.

    Producer: In this eighth month, there are important plans to make, such as knowing where to deliver and preparing for transportation. How far is it to the hospital?

    Husband: It is about 10 kilometres from our home to the hospital, but the clinic is near – it is only two kilometres from here.

    Producer: Do you have transportation or…?

    Husband: We are expecting to hire transport. I think this will be a big help for us to get to the hospital if we have to go there. There are a few people in the village with a car, and we can call one of them if there is an emergency and we need to go to the hospital.

    Producer: How much money do they charge for the ten kilometres from your home to the hospital?

    Husband: That depends. I think he normally charges fifteen or twenty thousand Tanzanian shillings (Editor’s note: about $11-15 US dollars or 8-11Euros). He can’t charge you more than twenty thousand.

    Producer: Have you prepared that amount of money?

    Husband: Yes, I have prepared that amount and also some money for the delivery – whether it’s at the clinic or at the hospital.

    Producer: Have you prepared food for after your wife’s delivery?

    Husband: I am still in preparation. We have not finished preparation of all the important and needed things yet, but we are preparing. (Sound of cow).

    Producer: Mum, who do you think will help you after you have delivered the baby? Who will be helping you with domestic things such as cooking, cleaning the house and the clothes?

    Wife: I think everything depends on my husband. He will be close to me, helping me, but also my mother-in-law, because she has never left me alone. She always comes early in the morning, and we can be together for hours. She always asks me if I have any problems. I think she will be able to help me. But mostly, I am depending on my husband.

    Producer: Judging by the time remaining for you to deliver, how do you think the preparation is going?

    Wife: The preparation is good. We have agreed on what we plan to do when the labour pains start, and we have saved some money, though we are still trying to save more money. We haven’t finished, but we have done something to prepare for this birth.

    Producer: (Speaking to the neighbour) Neighbour mum, you are here with us. Please tell us what important things we should look for with one month remaining. What would you make the first priority?

    Neighbouring mother: The first priority is to go for another clinic check-up so that they can make sure that the baby is in a good position for birth. Another thing is exercise. It’s good to exercise in order to deliver easily. I know you may feel too tired, but you have to force yourself, because by exercising you will deliver easily. Another thing is to make certain you are prepared with money and anything else you might need at the clinic when you go for delivery. The midwife usually advises us on what we should bring.

    Producer: Father, do you have anything to say?

    Husband: I have nothing to add, but I thank God for this month, the eighth month of my wife’s pregnancy. She has been healthy, and that is good. We feel well prepared. Only a few weeks until we have a child – it has been a long journey.