Knowledge and perception of women towards danger signs in pregnancy in Choma rural district, Zambia
Background: 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.
Objective: the objective of the study was to determine women's knowledge and perception towards danger signs in pregnancy in Choma rural district, Zambia
Design: a mixed method study design with both qualitative and quantitative approach was used. The study was conducted in Choma rural district. The study population was women of childbearing age residing in Choma rural district who had given birth before or those who were pregnant at the time of the study. One hundred and eighty-six (186) respondents were systematically sampled from three villages at Mapanza health centre catchment area. Two Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) were conducted at the health centre. Data were collected using interview schedules and focus group discussion guides. Data analysis was conducted using SPSS version 16 soft ware. Chi square test was used to test for associations between independent and dependent variables. FGDs were analysed using Contentanalysis. The cut-off point for statistical significance was 0.05
Results: The study revealed that 66% of the respondents had heard about danger signs in pregnancy, and 66.7% had positive perception about them. The study revealed that majority (71%) of the respondents had low levels of knowledge about danger signs in pregnancy. The study showed 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 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).
Conclusion: The study revealed that majority of the respondents had low levels of knowledge about danger signs in pregnancy. This could be contributing to women delaying to seek medical care, and increased maternal mortality in the district. Knowledge and perception of danger signs in pregnancy can be improved if Information, Education and Communication ( IEC) is given to all women to raise awareness, and this will in turn help them know when danger signs have occurred, and help them to seek medical care. The IEC should be conducted in such a way that there is time for questions and those questions should be adequately answered by the Health Workers. Male involvement should be encouraged to raise men's awareness so that they quickly seek medical care should their wives develop danger signs in pregnancy.
Key words: Knowledge, Perception, Women, Danger signs in pregnancy.