This was Qiybise’s fourth pregnancy. She had safely delivered each of her previous babies at home and was planning to do the same this time. The skilled Maternity Worldwide volunteer who was running the clinic assessed Qiybise to see if there were any factors in her pregnancy which would increase her risk. She also carried out an ultrasound using a small, portable scanning machine. This showed Qiybise had a very low lying placenta (after-birth) and which was extending across the cervix (the birth canal). This means the mother is at high risk as once labour begins the baby’s head descends and pushes against the placenta. This tears the placenta from the uterus and can cause the woman to bleed profusely. Haemorrhaging in such situations is a leading cause of death in childbirth.
The volunteer explained the risk to Qiybise. Blood loss is so rapid in these situations that it is unlikely the mother will survive more than an hour without intervention. This condition put Qiybise at particular risk as she lives a two hour walk from the nearest bus station and it would be a further three hour journey to the hospital from there. The volunteer explained to Qiybise that the safest option would be for her to have her baby in the hospital by caesarean section at 38 weeks.
“I only came to the clinic because I heard that another woman had got good information there. She told me her life had been saved because of what she was told. I wanted you to know that my baby was OK. We are so happy that you help our people and that you really care for us.”
Qiybise accepted this advice and arrived at the hospital when she was 37 weeks pregnant. The evening before her caesarean section was due to take place she had a massive bleed. An emergency caesarean was carried out successfully by the Maternity Worldwide volunteer obstetrician at the hospital.
The risk assessment clinic ensured that the risk to Qiybise and her baby were quickly identified and that she had the information she needed to enable her to choose a hospital birth. Coupled with the skilled care she received at the hospital, this ensured that Qiybise was able to give birth safely.