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Perceptions of Community Stakeholders on Safe Motherhood: An Account of Personal Narratives

Author Affiliations

  • 1Dept of Development Communication and Extension, Lady Irwin College-Delhi University INDIA
  • 2Dept of Development Communication and Extension, Lady Irwin College-Delhi University INDIA

Res. J. Family, Community and Consumer Sci., Volume 3, Issue (5), Pages 1-6, July,27 (2015)


All major decisions pertaining to pregnancy and child-birth that a woman ought to take are strongly influenced by different community stakeholders around her. This situation is especially dominant in the rural set-up of India where a mother-in-law or husband or some influential community leader may have more say in the way an entire pregnancy and child-birth must be handled. Consequently, women in the traditional Indian society lose control over their bodies and any decisions pertaining to it; it is people around her who decide and manipulate the puppet that she becomes. Keeping this in mind a qualitative research was carried out to capture narratives of these influential stakeholders that potentially determine the outcome of a pregnancy to understand their perceptions about safe motherhood. The study was carried out in villages of Haryana, which is patriarchy dominated and has the most skewed sex ratio in the country. Thirty narratives of ten mother-in-laws, 10 husbands and 10 other community stakeholders respectively were taken and analyzed based on guidelines for Narrative Analysis, 2003, by University of Wisconsin. The findings of this research clearly articulate that the state government had come up with unique schemes to promote safe motherhood which were acknowledged by these stakeholders. The findings also stated that the health workers were playing a pivotal role in mobilizing women to access these services. Mother-in-law was found to be the most potent influencer in terms of decision making pertaining to pregnancy and child-birth. On the flipside, the research reiterated the deep-rooted gender bias within the state. Though most community stakeholders were shifting their mindsets in this regard, yet interventions of Behaviour Change Communication are a must. The study found some positively deviant practices, like, government giving a kilo of Desi Ghee as an incentive for early ANC registration, husband/ mother-in-law making alternate arrangement for delivery, going for contraception after birth of two girls and supporting gender equality, not letting the couple get intimate after childbirth or using a Bhajan Samiti as a forum to motivate women to access services from DH, etc, that were making a big difference in the birth outcome for these beneficiaries.


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