“We have been working overnight without sleeping”: traditional birth attendants’ practices and perceptions of post-partum care services in rural Tanzania

Document Type



School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa


Background: In many low-income countries, formal post-partum care utilization is much lower than that of skilled delivery and antenatal care. While Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) might play a role in post-partum care, research exploring their attitudes and practices during this period is scarce. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore TBAs’ practices and perceptions in post-partum care in rural Tanzania.

Methods: Qualitative in-depth interview data were collected from eight untrained and three trained TBAs. Additionally, five multiparous women who were clients of untrained TBAs were also interviewed. Interviews were conducted in February 2013. Data were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze data.

Results: Our study found that TBAs take care of women during post-partum with rituals appreciated by women. They report lacking formal post-partum care training, which makes them ill-equipped to detect and handle post-partum complications. Despite their lack of preparation, they try to provide care for some post-partum complications which could put the health of the woman at risk. TBAs perceive that utilization of hospital-based post-partum services among women was only important for the baby and for managing complications which they cannot handle. They are poorly linked with the health system.

Conclusions: This study found that the TBAs conducted close follow-ups and some of their practices were appreciated


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.


BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.