Determinants of cord care practices among mothers in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria

  • BI Abhulimhen‑Iyoha
  • MO Ibadin
Keywords: Cord care, Choice, Influence, Mothers, Benin city


Background: Mothers care for their infants’ umbilical cord stump in various ways. Different cord care practices have been documented; some are beneficial while others are harmful. Who and what influence the cord care practiced by mothers have, however, not been fully explored particularly in the study locale.
Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the factors that influence cord care practices among mothers in Benin City.
Materials and Methods: The study subjects included 497 mothers who brought their babies to Well Baby/Immunization Clinic at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin City, Edo State, between July and August 2009. A structured questionnaire served as an instrument to extract information on their biodata and possible determinants of cord care practices.
Results: Significantly older women (P=0.023), educated mothers (P=0.029), and those who had male babies (P=0.013) practiced beneficial cord stump care practices. Beneficial cord care practice increased with increasing maternal educational status. The best predictors of beneficial cord care practices are maternal level of education (P=0.029) and infant’s sex (P=0.013). The use of harmful cord care practices was more common among mothers who delivered outside the Teaching hospitals. Most (71.2%) of the mothers were aware of hygienic/beneficial cord care. The choices of cord care methods eventually practiced by mothers were influenced mainly by the disposition of nurses (51.3%), participants’ mothers (32.0%), and their mothers‑in‑law (5.8%). There was no significant relationship between cord care practice on one hand and maternal parity, tribe, and socioeconomic classes on the other.
Conclusion/Recommendation: The need for female education is again emphasized. The current findings strongly justify the need for public enlightenment programs, using the mass media and health talks in health facilities, targeting not only women of reproductive age but also secondary audience like their mothers, mothers‑in‑law, nurses, and attendants at health facilities. Proper hygiene including proper hand washing techniques while caring for newborns along with vaccination of infants and their mothers will help prevent infections including tetanus while prompt health‑seeking behavior is advised to improve outcome should such infections occur.

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eISSN: 1119-3077