Scientific Research and Essays

  • Abbreviation: Sci. Res. Essays
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1992-2248
  • DOI: 10.5897/SRE
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 2754

Full Length Research Paper

How do village women determine foetal status and foetal pose in Malawi?

  Cecilia Promise Maliwichi-Nyirenda1* and Lucy Lynn Maliwichi2          
  1Leadership for Environment and Development South and Eastern Africa (LEAD-SEA), Chancellor College, University of Malawi, Chirunga Road, P. O. Box 280, Zomba, Malawi. 2Department of Family Ecology and Consumer Science, University of Venda, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 16 February 2010
  •  Published: 31 May 2010



In Malawi, 80% of the population lives within 8 km radius of a health care facility. However, most facilities lack drugs, personnel and laboratory equipment. Due to poverty, people cannot afford private hospital services; hence resort to home-based healthcare. There is lack of information on how pregnancy-related issues are managed at home. The study aimed at documenting traditional methods used in determining the status of the foetus and its pose. Focus group discussions, key informants, participant observations and questionnaire interviews data collection methods were used. Traditional Medical Practitioners, Traditional Birth Attendants, maternal and child health hospital staff and the general population were interviewed. Despite most respondents having low formal education, they exhibited knowledge of telling the status of foetus without using any equipment. 80.7% of respondents mentioned of kicking of the baby to indicate a live baby. Eight signs used to determine foetal pose were mentioned. Of these, the majority were related to the baby lying horizontally. Interventions are required to teach the rural masses on correct techniques hence ensuring safe motherhood.


Key words: Pregnancy management, maternal health, home-based healthcare, foetal management.