Attitude and perceptions of women on routine antenatal ultrasound examination in Nnewi, South East, Nigeria
This is a cross sectional survey of 212 consecutive pregnant women attending antenatal clinic at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi to determine the attitude and perceptions of pregnant women towards routine ultrasound examination in pregnancy. One hundred and ninety-eight (93.4%) of the respondents knew about ultrasound and 138 (65.1%) had done at least one ultrasound scan. 166 (78.3%) of the respondents supported routine ultrasound in pregnancy out of which 65% (108) indicated identifying fetal congenital abnormalities as their reasons. Other reasons in favour of routine ultrasound scan were to visualize the baby 30 (18.1%), know the gender 25 (21.6%) and ascertain the date of delivery 16(9.6%). Among the 46 (21.7%) respondents who objected to routine ultrasound in pregnancy, 16 (34.7%) felt that ultrasound should only be done on the doctor’s request. 10 (21.7%) said that it was unnecessary while 8 (17.4%) felt that ultrasound was expensive. When asked about the frequency of ultrasound in pregnancy, the majority 56 (33.7%) of those who favour routine ultrasound in pregnancy said ultrasound should be done as often as necessary, while 42 (25.3%) said it should be done only once in pregnancy. Increasing maternal age significantly lowered the willingness to accept routine scan, being lowest in women over the age of 40 years (X2=17.50, df=2, P=0.00). Also, the Catholics (X2=20.51, df=2, P=0.00) as well as respondents who had acquired tertiary education (X2=35.94, df=2, P=0.00) were significantly, more favourably disposed to routine scan in pregnancy. The majority of the pregnant women in our locality support routine ultrasound in pregnancy and their attitudes are influenced by age, religion and educational level. Introduction of routine antenatal ultrasound examination into our practice will not likely be hindered by cost.
Key words: Routine ultrasound, antenatal women, attitude