Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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Beliefs and Perceptions of Pregnant Women at Ileşa About Caesarean Section

Ernest O Orji, Solomon O. Ogunniyi, Uche Onwudiegwu


Context: Caesarean section is widely embraced and utilized in the developed countries, but among the Yoruba of Western Nigeria the operation is treated with suspicion, and aversion, misconceptions, fear, guilt, misery and anger are often associated with the procedure.

Objective: To investigate the beliefs and perceptions of pregnant women at Ileşa, South-western Nigeria about caesarean section.

Design, Setting and Subjects: A cross-sectional survey carried out at Wesley Guild Hospital, Ileşa, Nigeria from 1st October 2000 to 31st December, 2000. The study group comprised of 400 consecutive pregnant women seen at the antenatal clinic during the study period.

Main Outcome Measures: Proportion of women supporting or opposing caesarean sections, the reasons for their views and possible response if caesarean section becomes indicated during their current pregnancies.

Results: Out of the 400 women studied, 210 (52.5%) women supported caesarean section while 190 (47.5%) were opposed to it. Increasing maternal age was significantly associated with support for caesarean section (P<0.001). While 250(62.5%) women believed caesarean section is done for medical reasons, others believed that it is the devil's work; punishment for marital infidelity or out of doctors self interest. If caesarean section is indicated, 67.5% would accept that the procedure be done while others would default.

Conclusion: More pregnant women supported caesarean section than were opposed to it. Due to the importance of caesarean section in modern obstetric practice, there is need for better education of the community on its indications and benefits for achieving safe motherhood.

Key Words: Caesarean Section, Childbirth, Attitudes, Beliefs.

[Trop J Obstet Gynaecol, 2003, 20: 141-143]
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