Becoming a mother for the first time: Sina’s story

In Cambodia, many women used to deliver their children at home with traditional birth attendants—women within their community with no formal medical training. If women don’t have access to quality medical care, it can increase the risks for mother and baby and lead to tragic consequences.

But this is now changing.

Meet Sina. She is 23 years old and from the Lao ethnic minority group. Her first baby, a little girl called Davit, is just six weeks old and was born at her local health centre.

When Sina first learned she was pregnant, she was scared.

“My friend delivered her baby at home. She died, and the baby was left with its grandparents. I was so scared of delivering my baby at home, I didn’t want to be like my friend. So I decided to deliver my baby at the health centre.”

CARE has been working with traditional birth attendants and health volunteers in Sina’s village so they can give pregnant women accurate information about staying healthy. This helped Sina become excited rather than fearful about delivering her baby.

“I have received support from CARE, especially education about mothers, babies, and safe delivery at the health centre. The midwife from the health centre and CARE staff visited me often during my pregnancy. They advised me to go to the health centre for health check-ups and to get iron supplements.”

Sina and her husband are thankful they made the decision to get qualified medical support when she gave birth.

“My family members thought I would die because after delivering the baby, I bled for three days – many litres of blood. I was so weak and pale. However, because I was at the health centre, the skilled midwives saved my life.”

If Sina had not had the opportunity to learn the dangers of delivering at home without qualified medical support, her story could have echoed her friend’s.

Looking at her baby, she says, “I might not be able to see my baby if I had delivered her at home.”

Sina loves her daughter and hopes to have another baby in the future. Next time, she will not be scared at all.

“I plan to go to the health centre to deliver another baby. I trust the midwives there. And there is a lot of equipment to save mothers and babies when needed.”