Accuracy of maternal recall of birth weight and selected delivery complications in Zanzibar
Background: Birth weight is one of the key predictor for survival, health and future development of a child. In developing countries data on birth weights are limited to obtain due to difficulties in keeping records especially among rural women. Maternal recall of birth weight can therefore become a useful source of birth weight data. This study was carried out to determine recall of birth weight and delivery complications among mothers in Unguja West District of Zanzibar.
Methods: This cross-sectional study involve mothers who had children below five years of age. Pretested structured questionnaire was used to collect information on socio-demographic characteristics of the mother, age of the child, birth weight of the child and delivery complications. Other information was obtained from maternal antenatal clinic and child’s growth monitoring cards.
Results: A total of 260 women were included in the study. The mean age of the mothers was 29 years, ranging from 17 to 45 years. More than half (62%) had attained secondary education and few had informal education (6.5%) or post-secondary education (12%). Majority of the mothers (85%) delivered at the health facility assisted by trained health care provider. Those who delivered at home (15%) were either assisted by a relative or Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA). Over three quarters (78.5%) of the mothers had birth weights of their children recorded in the postnatal care cards. Out of 38 children who were born at home, 87% (n = 33) were not weighed and there were 23 women (10.4%) who delivered at the hospital but their children’s weight were not recorded. Overall, 46 (20%) mothers could not correctly recall birth weights of their children where. There was strong correlation between recall and recorded birth weight (r2=0.79; p<0.01). Reported/recorded delivery complications were hypertension, excessive bleeding, low birth weight, episiotomy, anaemia and preeclampsia.
Conclusion: Maternal recall can provide reliable information with regard to child’s birth weight and delivery complications. Health facility staff should measure child’s weight correctly, inform the mother and record in the child’s card in order to facilitate correct recall by the mothers.