Chief Consultant Gynaecologist at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Bayelsa State, Dr. Andrew Igbafe has decried the increasing cases of deaths among women due to complications associated with pregnancy. The consultant who said the hospital has recorded several death of pregnant women in the last six months during child birth attributed their deaths to fetish, cultural and religious beliefs that health care during pregnancy can only be provided by traditional birth attendants and herbal homes. Speaking in Yenagoa yesterday during a lecture organized by the Eshama Education and Research Centre titled “Safe Motherhood in Bayelsa”, Dr. Igbafe said the causes of deaths during child birth among women were due to ignorance and unwholesome practices due to tradition and culture. According to him, complications during pregnancy are an abnormal occurrence that does not respect age and status of women. He said: “Women dying due to child bearing is a tragedy, which can be catastrophic to the family and the state. Majority of the deaths occurs where strong traditional customs and beliefs promote cultural practices that significantly increase the risk of pregnancy related deaths. Due to such cultural, traditional and religious beliefs the decision to seek health care is left in the hands of the husbands or other family members.” “In view of these, the key to reducing maternal mortality is to educate the community to understand the risks and danger signs of pregnancy and delivery and to mobilise them to seek appropriate and prompt child care. Let it be known that the excuses that it is due to poverty and lack of money to access health facilities are wrong. Many of those involved are working class families.