Original Research

Primigravidae’s knowledge about obstetric complications in an urban health centre in Malawi

LC Kumbani, P Mclnerney
Curationis | Vol 29, No 3 | a1092 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v29i3.1092 | © 2006 LC Kumbani, P Mclnerney | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 September 2006 | Published: 28 September 2006

About the author(s)

LC Kumbani, Kamuzu College of Nursing, Blantyre, Malawi, Malawi
P Mclnerney, School of Nursing, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Abstract

Pregnant women in Malawi receive information about pregnancy, labour and delivery during routine antenatal visits. This study aimed to explore knowledge of obstetric complications amongst primigravidae attending an urban health centre in Blantyre, Malawi. A descriptive study design was used. Recognition of obstetric complications in pregnancy, during labour and after delivery and actions that participants would take if they developed any complications in pregnancy and after delivery were explored. Actions that women would take for complications that occur during labour were not probed, as women have little control over actions taken when complications arise during labour.
Methods: Participants were selected by means of purposive sampling from a population of pregnant women who fitted defined criteria and who were attending antenatal clinic at a health centre. Forty-five primigravidae from the urban setting with a gestation period between 28 and 42 weeks were interviewed. Data were analysed manually.
Results: The findings showed that participants were more aware of obstetric complications that could occur in pregnancy than of complications that may occur during and after delivery. Sixty percent of the participants were knowledgeable about obstetric complications in pregnancy. The majority of the participants, 73% and 82.2% did not know of any problems that could occur during and after the birth of the baby respectively. Participants had limited knowledge of complications that may need immediate treatment during all three periods. Fifty-eight percent (95% ci: 43; 73) of the primigravidae had some knowledge and could make an informed decision to go to a health facility with pregnancy complications. However, only 24% (95% ci: 11; 38) of the primigravidae had some knowledge and could make an informed decision to go to a health facility with complications after delivery. These findings suggest a critical need for provision of information on obstetric complications especially those that may occur during and after birth with emphasis on those obstetric complications that require immediate treatment.

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