Perineal Hygiene in the Puerperium: The Niger Delta Experience
Background: The puerperium is the period after the delivery of the placenta up to end of six weeks. The postnatal mother is at high risk of morbidity and mortality from sepsis. Appropriate perineal hygiene
may play a significant role in reducing the extent of the problem.
Objectives: To evaluate the knowledge and practice of perineal hygiene among postnatal mothers admitted into the postnatal ward of University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH).
Methods: A cross sectional descriptive study among postnatal mothers admitted into the postnatal st wards of University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital between 1 July and 31st December 2006. A systematic random sampling method was used. Fishers Exact and Chi Square tests were used for data analysis.
Results: A total of 224 questionnaires out of 250 were retrieved. Most (99.6%) of the respondents had some form of formal education. Most of the booked respondents (56.9%) used sanitary pads for perineal
hygiene. The sanitary towels were mainly purchased from patent medicine stores/ open markets with burying and burning as dominating major modes of disposal. Majority of the booked respondents (90%)
had knowledge regarding application of pad from vulva to anus and the cleaning of perineal area from front backwards. About 88% of the booked and 52% of the unbooked populations had knowledge and appropriate practice regarding cleaning of perineal area after each emptying of bladder/bowel. Most of the respondents (77.2%) never had any puerperal complications.
Conclusion: Majority of the booked as opposed to the unbooked postnatal mothers in University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital had good knowledge and practice regarding perineal hygiene. Thus antenatal care and formal education may be regarded as sine-que-non in maintaining good perineal hygiene among postnatal mothers.
Key Words: Perineal Hygiene, Puerperium, Niger Delta
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