Attitude and socio-cultural practice during pregnancy among women in Akinyele L. G. A. of Oyo State, Nigeria


M. C. Ezeama and Ikenna Ezeamah

Background: The problems of increased maternal morbidity and mortality in the developing countries like Nigeria have been associated with attitudes and socio- cultural practices of women during pregnancy and childbirth. Knowledge, culture and experience determine expectation of pregnancy and childbirth outcomes. Social cultural practices reflect attitudes, belief held by people for generations. Every social group worldwide has unique cultural practices and beliefs, whether beneficial or harmful. Harmful practices like food restriction and traditional practices during pregnancy may result to maternal malnutrition and poor maternal health. Women with these health conditions could have babies with low birth weight, neonatal deaths and still births .This study aimed to assess the attitudes and sociocultural practices that affect the outcome of pregnancy and childbirth. It is also aimed to identify the extent to which Social Support and Self- Efficacy perceptions influence cultural practices. Materials and method: Sample for the study was made up of 405 women who have delivered babies a year prior to the study. Moniya is made up of seven villages. Five villages were randomly selected for study. Systematic sampling was adopted. In each of the 5 villages studied, every third household was sampled and all the women who have had children a year prior to the study was included. Two instruments, questionnaire and focus group discussion were used for data collection. Four women of childbearing age vast with knowledge of pregnancy related risk factors were trained as interviewers. Data were analyzed with the use of EPI- INFO (version 6.0). Positive attitudes to keep healthy, like attending antenatal (ANC) regularly, eating high protein foods and vegetables were emphasized. Results: An important finding from the Focus Group Discussion(FGDs) was that majority of the pregnant women avoided eating bush meat â??To avoid having deformed babiesâ? that looks like animals. Green vegetables for the common belief that eating such might cause their babies to hiccough, gasp during breast feeding and Plantain delayed closure of fontanel respectively. Results also showed that 27(6.6%) with no formal education and 168(41.5%) who completed secondary education registered and regularly attended ANC. These showed that the more educated the pregnant women were, the more they registered and attended the ANC. Conclusion: From the findings of the study periodic health education of pregnant women on how to minimize unhealthy cultural practices is recommended.

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