Health officials in Srivilliputtur had to call in the police on Saturday to take a woman and her newborn girl, who was delivered at the woman’s parental home near Watrap on Friday, to the Government Hospital for administering medical care. The woman, encouraged by her husband, had opted for delivering the baby at home through ‘naturopathy’.
The woman Ansul Fatima and her husband Mohammed Tajuddin of Madurai were unwilling to even remove the placental cord, said S. Ramganesh, Deputy Director (Health Services), Sivakasi. The couple had decided to go for home birthing after reading a book on natural delivery.
Ms. Fatima had registered herself with the urban primary health centre at Tirumangalam in Madurai when she became pregnant. However, she had been there only once for vaccination and never returned for a medical check-up, Dr. Ramganesh said. The woman was brought to her parents’ house in Krishnapuram on September 11 for delivery of her first child. Though neighbours and relatives advised the family to take her to the hospital for delivery, the couple refused. On Friday, she developed labour pain but still refused to go to hospital. “After convincing the neighbours that they would go to hospital, Tajuddin and his mother-in-law helped Fatima deliver a baby girl around 11.30 p.m. on Friday,” he said.
On being alerted by the local people, the Medical Officer of Kottaiyur Primary Health Centre came to the spot.
“Our team was shocked to find that the placental cord had not been removed till forenoon of Saturday. The couple believed that the cord should not be removed for three days so that the baby got additional nutrition. But, it is a wrong idea. There was every possibility of the child getting infected due to the exposed cord. The doctors had a tough time convincing them to safely remove the cord,” Dr. Ramganesh said.
Later, the medical team had to seek police help to take Ms. Fatima and her baby to the hospital for post-delivery care.
“The mother looked very weak and her blood pressure was low. We could take them to hospital in a ‘108’ ambulance only after promising that she would be given only ayurvedic treatment and not allopathy,” he said.
Doctors found that Ms. Fathima’s haemoglobin level was very low at 5 mg while it had to be around 10 mg. “Besides, the woman had to be given sutures for the tear injury during birth. Only after the police warned the husband about the legal consequences, the woman consented for the treatment,” Dr. Ramganesh said.
The mother and baby are stable now, said Dr. N. Pushpalatha, Chief Medical Officer, Srivilliputtur. She said that institutional deliveries would ensure safety of both the mother and child.