The impact of motorcycle accidents on the obstetric population in Calabar, Nigeria

  • Etim I Ekanem Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Medical Sciences, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria
  • Saturday J Etuk
  • Asuquo D Ekanem
  • John E Ekabua


Contexts: Motorcycle accidents are very common in most cities in Nigeria since the introduction of motorcycle for public commercial transportation in the early 1980s and because most pregnant women use this popular means of transport it may contribute to non-obstetric causes of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. The impact of this on our obstetric population is yet to be studied in Calabar.

Objectives: is to assess the influence of motorcycle accidents on maternal and perinatal performance in patients manage in the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar.

Study Design, Setting and Subjects: This was a retrospective descriptive study carried out in the maternity Annex of the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), Calabar. One hundred and four patients managed as a result of motorcycle accidents in the index pregnancy over two years were studied.

Results: Motorcycle accounted for 7.1% of all obstetric emergencies during the period. The victims were mostly married (43.3%); multiparous (23.1%) and 34.6% were civil servants. Twenty (19.2%)of patients were ridding the motorcycles themselves. Of the 64 victims who were passengers, 68.8% sat sideways. Most of the victims (40.4%) were in the third trimester of gestation while 23.0% were actually in labor. The maternal complications included premature labour and deliveries (7.6%), abruptio placentae (3.8%) and ruptured uterus (1.9%). Complications occurred in 33.0% of the babies, which included birth asphyxia and prematurity with perinatal death of 5.5%.

Conclusion: Motorcycle accidents are common among the Obstetric population in Calabar. There is high rate of life threatening maternal complications and perinatal morbidity. Relevant authority should ensure that only those duly licensed are allowed to ride the motorcycle when carrying pregnant women who should be the only passenger and sit astride.

Keywords: motorcycles accidents, obstetric population

Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Vol. 22(2) 2005: 164-167

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eISSN: 0189-5117