Mothers’ knowledge about birth asphyxia: The need to do more!
Background: Health education is an important tool required for reducing the burden of birth asphyxia in the developing world.
Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the knowledge of mothers, who received health facility-based antenatal care during their last pregnancy, about birth asphyxia and relate their knowledge to their places of antenatal care.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional survey of mothers of infants attending the Immunization clinic in a Nigerian Teaching Hospital was done between July and October 2010 using a close-ended questionnaire. Consecutively consenting mothers were enrolled into the study.
Results: Out of 354 mothers, 56.5% received counseling about birth asphyxia during antenatal clinic visits in their last pregnancy; 85.5% of attendees of teaching hospital; and 26.4% of attendees of private antenatal clinics received counseling about birth asphyxia. Overall, 38.9% of the respondents had satisfactory knowledge about birth asphyxia;
47.5% of teaching hospital attendees; and 28.1% of private clinic attendees had satisfactory knowledge about birth asphyxia. Lower socioeconomic status, lack of counseling, and nonattendance of teaching hospital antenatal clinic were associated with poor knowledge about birth asphyxia.
Conclusion: Most of the mothers surveyed had poor knowledge about the risk factors and sequelae of birth asphyxia. The health system needs to improve health education of expectant mothers about birth asphyxia.
Key words: Antenatal care, asphyxia, health education