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Migrant mother nearly dies for home labour
Updated: 2004-07-27 14:59

Shanghai: A migrant woman is recovering from excessive blood loss during childbirth while her newborn son remains in critical condition, in part because the baby was born at home not in hospital, doctors say.

Wang fang, 32, decided to have the baby at home when she went into labor on Saturday evening because her family couldn't afford to pay high medical fees.

The decision could have tragic results.

Her newborn son suffered a brain hemorrhage due to a lengthy lack of oxygen as well as pneumonia from taking in placental liquids during birth, Chen Chao, a doctor at Fudan University's Children's Hospital, said yesterday.

"If he had received timely medical treatment or the birth was done at a hospital, the problems could have been fixed," Chen said.

"He is still wearing a breathing mask today and in critical condition, but we think he will make it."

While doctors expect the boy to survive, they said he will likely suffer problems with mental development in the future due to the brain injuries he has received.

Wang and her husband, who are both from Anhui Province, earn a meager living in the city selling vegetables at a roadside stall. They have a daughter who still lives in their hometown.

The husband, who asked only to be identified as Li, said he and his wife decided to have the baby at home due to the family's dire poverty.

"We could hardly make ends meet on this business for a living and we have no savings at all. I had told her I don't want a second child in our current situation but she insisted on having a son," Li was quoted as saying by Youth Daily on Sunday.

The couple asked a relative to assist in the childbirth as Wang went into labor at 9pm on Saturday. The helper, however, had no training to help out in childbirth.

"We sterilized a pair of old scissors with boiling water to use for cutting the umbilical cord," the woman was quoted as saying by Youth Daily at hospital.

Wang gave birth to her son without much difficulty, but she kept losing blood for two hours before her husband finally called an ambulance that rushed the mother to the hospital at about 11pm.

Medical workers had to return to the family's home to find the newborn, who was in shock when they arrived.

Local health officials said many migrants choose to visit unlicensed clinics and unqualified doctors to give birth, as they can't afford proper care.

Nearly 20 women die during delivery every year in the city and more than half of them were migrants who hired illegal midwives to help them give birth.

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