Labor and delivery experiences, birth outcomes, and colostrum feeding among Hadza mothers of Northern Tanzania.

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American Journal of Human Biology






In recent years, the Hadza of Tanzania have experienced increased access to mobile clinics where nurses provide basic health care. Here, we report on data extracted from semi‐structured interviews of 80 mothers residing in both the village and bush. We report parity, location of birth, mode of delivery, birth attendants, and changes in breastfeeding practices and colostrum distribution, as doctors and nurses tell them of the “dirtiness” of the first milk. A total of 68% of our sample gave colostrum to their newborn. The mean age of mothers in our sample was 33.99 (SD ± 14.48) with an average of 4.13 births and 3.52 children living. The mean age of first birth was 17.56 (SD± 5.08). The majority of women had home births (97%) with traditional birth attendants, predominantly their mother, grandmother, and/or other older women. However, eleven total births (3%) occurred in the hospital and seven of those transfers resulted in cesarean sections. All of our participants reported that home birth was better than hospital birth, but our data suggest that mothers are being encouraged to travel to hospitals. Many choose not to go, however “home births” are currently illegal in Tanzania, making this situation challenging. It is also currently illegal for pregnant teenage mothers to attend school – a regulation that impacted 3 of our 8 mothers under the age of 16 years. Future work will evaluate the health outcomes of such changes as these laws take effect and mothers increasingly interact with the biomedical system.


Maternal, Child Health and Neonatal Nursing, African Languages and Societies; International Public Health; Women's Health


Anthropology | Social and Behavioral Sciences



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