Giving Birth In A Bangladesh Slum Looks Terrifying

Sajila is a working mother living in the Korail slum of Dhaka City, Bangladesh.

Like most slums, the Korail slum lacks access to clean water, reliable electricity, and health services.

The slums are formed on government owned land and those living there do so illegally.

Saikat Mojumder is a photographer who spent time with Sajila and her family, beginning when she was four months pregnant.

His photos depict the harsh conditions women are forced to endure during pregnancy and birth.

Mojumder shared his photos with Business Insider, and each is accompanied with his own words.

Sajila is 34 and pregnant. She sits amidst the bleak environment of the Korail slum in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She has a husband, mother-in-law, and three children in her family. Her husband cannot support the family himself, so Sajila works as a day laborer to support him.

Published with permission from Saikat Mojumder.

Sajila comforts her son while she tolerates terrible pain herself.

Published with permission from Saikat Mojumder.

Even during her pregnancy, Sajila worked as a day laborer because her family will starve if she does not.

Published with permission from Saikat Mojumder.

Sajila takes a short rest. She lives in a small, suffocating, and unhealthy room in the Korail slum, which is surrounded by a lake. Like in most slums, there are no doctors or medical services available.

Published with permission from Saikat Mojumder.

Sajila is in pain from labour. There are midwives to help the pregnant mothers in the slum, but most women do not trust them.

Published with permission from Saikat Mojumder.

The midwife is trying to hear the heartbeat of the child with a plastic pipe. Bangladesh has a very high maternal mortality rate of 240 deaths per 100,000 live births. The reason behind this high death rate is that most of the births are delivered by untrained midwives.

Published with permission from Saikat Mojumder.

The process of childbirth is being carried out in the traditional way, with a midwife. Sajila believes, if she has God by her side, she will give birth safely. All three of her children have been born this way.

Published with permission from Saikat Mojumder.

A new life is born. The midwife holds up the boy as Sajila lays beside. Her economic condition was even worse during her pregnancy and she had to starve for several days. She gave birth to her child without any modern facilities or medicines, and in an unhealthy atmosphere. It might sound incredible to many, but Sajila walked home with her son only an hour after giving birth.

Published with permission from Saikat Mojumder.

No special arrangement is made for the newborn. He lays on the floor while Sajila's three other children have their meal.

Published with permission from Saikat Mojumder.

Sajila breast-feeds the baby boy in her unsanitary and suffocating room.

Published with permission from Saikat Mojumder.

The boy has a black mark put on his foot to ward off evil spirits.

Published with permission from Saikat Mojumder.

Even in the backdrop of grim poverty, the father welcomes the newborn with a kiss.

Published with permission from Saikat Mojumder.

There are other places with troubling living conditions.

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