Women's perceptions of the complications of pregnancy and childbirth in two Esan communities, Edo state, Nigeria

Asowa-Omorodion, F.I.

Social Science and Medicine 44(12): 1817-1824


ISSN/ISBN: 0277-9536
PMID: 9194243
DOI: 10.1016/s0277-9536(96)00291-2
Document Number: 267604
The high prevalence of maternal mortality and its causes in the developing World have been well established. However, this information to a large extent is on institutional data. Establishment of the level and social context of maternal mortality through community-based studies are unavailable. Recent years have witnessed a new approach to providing an in-depth understanding of this problem through community-based studies involving a multi-disciplinary approach. Built into this approach is the use of classical anthropological methods including focus group discussions. Participants expressed their perceptions of maternal mortality in the focus groups. Issues such as alternative modes of treating complications in pregnancy or delivery are also discussed. This paper examines the complications and modes of treatment relating to pregnancy and delivery as perceived by Esan women. Focus group discussions generated data for analysis. The women identified miscarriage, separation of the placenta, haemorrhage, obstructed labour, and the retention of the placenta as complications experienced in pregnancy, labour or delivery. Of these complications, haemorrhage was the most severe and devastating because it kills easily owing to the amount of blood lost. However, two alternative modes of treatment, traditional and modern are in use, the most prevalent, cheapest, easier to obtain, and most trusted being the traditional mode of treatment. A reduction in maternal mortality requires a number of strategies. The most radical of these is the recommendation that both traditional and modern treatments need to complement one another in the same health institution to ensure the maximal effectiveness of both modes of treatment.

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