Knowledge and Perceptions of Severe Pre-Eclampsia among Postnatal Women at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital

Mayanja Ronald, Nkonwa Innocent, Chakura Andrew, Mubiru Musa, Masembe Sezalio, Musa Kayondo, Kanyesigye Hamson, Wasswa Ssalongo, Joseph Ngonzi


Background: Preeclampsia is associated with acute and long-term morbidities. Knowledge of obstetric danger signs and birth preparedness are important strategies at enhancing utilization of skilled care in low income countries. It is generally believed that in light of a looming disaster, those who promote and regulate health and safety need to understand how people think about and respond to risk. We undertook this study because we wanted to know how women in Mbarara perceive vulnerability or risk of death due to severe preeclampsia and how their perceptions influence their response. Methods: This was a cross sectional study that recruited mothers on the postnatal ward. These women were expected to have gained knowledge about pregnancy danger signs during their antenatal period. Women were classified to have either high knowledge perceptions or low knowledge perceptions based on their perceived knowledge of symptoms, complications, right decision and perceived dangers. Knowledge about the above areas of assessment was analyzed and classified as high and low knowledge perceptions. Results: Eighty three percent (83.0%) did not know any symptom of severe preeclampsia, 99.1% knew less than three symptoms of severe preeclampsia, and 36.6% did not know any complication of severe preeclampsia. Conclusion: The knowledge concerning pre eclampsia and its symptoms are still low among women at Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital. Many post natal mothers have misconceptions about severe pre eclampsia and its symptoms. “When I get headache i eat some food or drink water” --- it is a sign of hunger or dehydration’’ are some of the responses we received from the respondents. Recommendations: There is need for the antenatal care service providers to emphasize to the mothers about danger symptoms and signs in pregnancy. Health education during antenatal clinics should be given in a language and methods easily understood by women.

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