Survival of infants and children born to women who died from pregnancy and laboour related complications

  • JY Obed
  • ET Agida
  • AG Mairiga


Objective: In response to concern raised on the high rate of maternal mortality in developing countries, this cross-sectional survey was conducted to assess the survival of infants born to mothers who died during the process of child birth. Methodology: The survey was conducted in Gwoza and Konduga Local Government Areas of Borno State, Nigeria over a 12 week period; January to March, 1996. Results: Sixty four live-born infants of 76 deceased mothers were studied. The majority of the infants were either nursed by the deceased's sister or mother. Alternative or donor breast milk by a surrogate mother (usually the deceased close relation), goat or cow milk were the common form of feeding from birth to 6 months of age followed by groundnut enriched pap.Twenty (31.3%) of the infants survived upto 5 years of age while 44 (68.6%) did not. Factors favouring infant survival include nursing, up-bringing and breast-feeding by a surrogate mother (who is usually either the deceased's sister or mother), infant feeding with goat's or cow's milk, Immunization, hospital treatment of aliments, hospital delivery or maternal death in the hospital and finally when the caretaker is of low party and upper social class status.Factors responsible for infant death included prematurity, cause of maternal death was due to sepsls as a result of prolonged labour or premature rupture of fetal membranes, birth asphyxia, tetanus, respiratory problems, fever, convulsions, diaorrhea and vomiting and malnutrition. Conculsion: These babies are readlly accepted by the society because it is believed that the caretaker would receive a lot of blessing from God. On the other hand,the death of such babies is considered a double loss even though there is a low expectation for their survival .

Keywords: maternal death; Survival of infant born alive

Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice Vol.10 (1) 2007: pp.35-40