Exploring the community perceptions and understanding of stillbirth in South Africa: A qualitative study

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Advanced Nursing, University of Venda, South Africa

2 School of Health Sciences Research Office, University of Venda, South Africa


Background: The stillbirth rate in Mpumalanga province, South Africa, ranges from 21 to 27 per 1000 total births.
Objectives: The objective was to determine the community perceptions and understanding of factors contributing to stillbirths.
Methods: A qualitative explorative study was conducted. The population comprised traditional birth attendants and women who had experienced a stillbirth in their lifetime. Purposive sampling was used to select the four hospitals and twelve women while snowball sampling was used to select five Traditional Birth Attendants. Data were collected through in-depth interviews and analyzed through Tesch's open coding method. Trustworthiness was ensured by considering the criteria of credibility, dependability, applicability, and transferability.
Results: The themes that emerged as general perceptions and understanding of stillbirth focused on participants' knowledge of stillbirth, perceived contributory causes, perceived prevention interventions, and traditional birth attendants' roles and interventions.
Conclusion: Lack of knowledge, cultural practices, and health workers' attitudes were perceived to be contributory causes of stillbirth. The antenatal care health education content for women of childbearing age and traditional birth attendants needs to include the medical diseases that cause stillbirth.


Main Subjects

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