Knowledge and Perception of Women towards danger signs in pregnancy in Choma District
Sianchapa, Brenda Nambala
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Pregnancy is usually an exciting time in the life of a family. It is a joyous event for most families as they anticipate bringing new life on earth. Sometimes a pregnant woman may experience signs and symptoms which signal danger. Danger signs in pregnancy are those signs that a pregnant woman will see, or those symptoms that she will feel which indicate that something is going wrong with her or with the pregnancy. Recognition of danger signs in pregnancy by pregnant women and their communities is the essential first step in accepting appropriate and timely referral to obstetric and newborn care. This can in turn help reduce maternal mortality as women will seek medical care on time.The aim of this study was to determine knowledge and perception of women about danger signs in pregnancy. The study was conducted in Choma rural district. A cross-sectional, descriptive study design with both qualitative and quantitative approach was used. The study population was the women of child bearing age residing in Choma rural district who had given birth before or those who were pregnant at the time of the study. A sample of 186 respondents was systematically sampled from 3 villages at Mapanza health center catchment population. Two Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were conducted at the health center. Interview schedules and focus group discussion guide were used to collect data for a period of one month.Data analysis was conducted using Statistical Package in Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16 software, and data were presented using frequency tables, pie charts, histograms and cross-tabulations. Data from open ended questions were categorized, coded, entered and analyzed using SPSS version 16. Data from closed ended questions was coded, entered and analyzed using SPSS version 16. Chi square test was used to test for associations between independent and dependent variables. FGDs were analyzed by content analysis and the most useful information that emerged from the discussions was selected and used to illustrate the main points.The study revealed that 66% respondents had heard about danger signs in pregnancy, and that 66.7% had positive perception about them. The study however revealed that majority (71%) of the respondents had low levels of knowledge. The study revealed significant associations between women’s knowledge about danger signs in pregnancy and education level (40%, p value=0.006) and between age and knowledge about danger signs in pregnancy (37.5%, p value=0.017). Occupation was also associated with women’s knowledge of danger signs in pregnancy (45.5%, p value=0.002), as well as quality of services (80.8%, p value=0.000). Marital status was significantly associated with women’s perception towards danger signs in pregnancy (82.7%, p value=0.009), as well as cultural beliefs (58.4%, p value=0.000). The results were disseminated to relevant stakeholders after data analysis.This study recommends that the Ministry of Health should put in place measures to strengthen Information Education and Communication (IEC) programs in all health facilities to increase knowledge about danger signs in pregnancy among women and this will also improve their perceptions. A follow up study should be conducted to explore women’s practices for pregnancy and delivery complications. It is envisaged that the study results will be used by Maternal and Child Health programs to give evidence-based IEC and increase knowledge of danger signs in pregnancy among women so that they seek medical care urgently when they experience the danger signs. It is hoped that the findings will be useful to plan the care according to the needs of the communities in Choma rural district, and ultimately reduce maternal mortality.Key words: Knowledge, Perceptions, Women, Danger signs in pregnancy.