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Perspectives of skilled birth attendants and pregnant women regarding episiotomy: a quantitative approach

Dokuba Tex-Jack
Chinemerem Eleke


Background: The World Health Organization recommended less than 10% episiotomy rate for Skilled Birth Attendants (SBAs) and hospitals in 1996. More than two decades afterwards, some health facilities are still grappling with meeting the set target.

Objectives: This study assessed the perspectives of SBAs and pregnant women regarding episiotomy in a Nigerian univer- sity teaching hospital.

Methods: A cross-sectional design was employed. Census sampling was used to select 19 SBAS and 973 vaginal birth re- cords from 2019, while consecutive sampling technique was used to enrol 134 consenting pregnant women obtaining ante- natal services in the facility. Data was collected using a three part instrument involving a data extraction sheet, episiotomy practice questionnaire for SBAs, and feelings about episiotomy questionnaire for pregnant women. Assembled data were summarised with descriptive statistics.

Results: The episiotomy rate was 345(35.5%). About 266 (77.1%) of first time mothers (primips) and 79(22.9%) of non- first time mothers (multips) received episiotomy. Ten (52.6%) of the SBAs were unsure of any evidence supporting routine episiotomy. All the 19(100%) SBAs reported that there was no existing facility-based policy regarding routine episiotomy. Seventy five (56%) of the pregnant women reported feeling generally bad about episiotomy. One hundred and one (82.3%) of them hinted that they will not feel satisfied if they were given episiotomy with the reason that it ensures quick vaginal birth.

Conclusion: The rate of episiotomy was higher than global recommended standards and primips are disproportionately af- fected. If organised by professional societies, more scientific conferences on limiting episiotomy might remedy this situation.

Keywords: Episiotomy; birth; pregnant women; vagina; Nigeria.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1729-0503
print ISSN: 1680-6905