Fear of disrespect and abuse along with misconceptions about procedures required to assist women during childbirth often negatively influence the decision to seek care at a health facility. Maternity Open Days provide an opportunity for pregnant women and their families to interact with health care providers and visit maternity units to demystify birthing practices and mitigate fears regarding childbirth in a facility. Such an approach brings together women, their families, and providers to enable pregnant women to understand what happens in a maternity unit. This brief is part of a Respectful Maternity Care Resource Package developed by the Kenya Heshima Project. Among the results: Community members have embraced Maternity Open Days, more cordial relationships have developed between providers and community members, myths and misconceptions associated with facility delivery have been clarified; community participation has improved, particularly for men, in the welfare of clients and staff within the maternity unit. To encourage participation, other services have been integrated into Maternity Open Days, such as health talks and screening for prostate and cervical cancer.
"Promoting Respectful Maternity Care Resource Package—Maternity open days: Clarifying misconceptions about childbirth." New York: Population Council, 2015.
Heshima: Promoting Dignified and Respectful Care During Childbirth