This study was carried out to assess knowledge, practice and factors influencing birth preparedness and complication readiness among couples in selected rural communities in Oji River. The objectives of the study were to determine knowledge of birth preparedness and complication readiness among couples in the communities studied, couple’s practice of birth preparedness and complication readiness, identify factors that hinder couples practices of birth preparedness and complication readiness and establish the relationship between couple’s socio-economic status and their practice of birth preparedness and complication readiness. A cross-sectional descriptive survey research design was used for the study in selected seven communities of Oji River L.G.A. Snowball non probability sampling technique was used to select subjects for the study. A sample of 470 was determined using the formula by Surish & Chandrashekera. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze data at 0.05 level of significance. Results were presented in tables, frequencies, means and standard deviations. Findings revealed that majority of the couples 120 (78.7%) were knowledgeable on birth preparedness and complication readiness, knowledge did not translate to practice as less than 20% actually practiced the acceptable level of birth preparedness. Financial constraint was the significant factor that hindered couples practice of birth preparedness and complication readiness. All the socio-economic variable examined were associated with couple’s practice of birth preparedness and complication readiness. There was significant difference (P < 0.05) in the average monthly income and educational qualification of the couples and their practice of birth preparedness and complication readiness. In conclusion, although most of the couple had good knowledge of birth preparedness and complication readiness, knowledge still did not translate to practice as few of them actually practiced the acceptable level of birth preparedness and complication readiness. Based on the findings, the recommendations that there is a need for slight shift in focus of maternal and child care projects of governments and need to improve transportation facilities suitable for pregnant women at rural communities which will improve outcomes in emergencies were made.
Background to the Study
It is true that birth of baby precedes celebration but it equally poses source of concern as pregnancy and childbirth is sometimes a perilous journey especially in the developing countries, where the risk of a woman dying from pregnancy and related complications is almost 40 times greater than that of her counterparts in developed countries (Benson & Yinger, 2002). Maternal mortality remains a public health challenge world wide, and the global maternal mortality ratio of 525 per 100,000 live births annually is still unacceptably high (Hogan, 2010). A disproportionately high burden of these maternal deaths is borne by developing countries including Nigeria, with a maternal mortality ratio of 500– 1,000 per 100,000 live births (World Bank, 2013). These deaths arise from pregnancy, childbirth or postpartum complications. According to WHO (2009), maternal deaths are thought to occur in developing countries due to delay in deciding to seek appropriate care, delay in reaching an appropriate health facility, and delay in receiving adequate emergency care once at a facility. These delays may be reduced if pregnant women and their families are prepared for birth and its complications. Birth preparedness and complication readiness strategy is therefore, very relevant in this regard.This strategy can reduce the number of women dying from complications due to such delays by making a birth plan that constitutes birth-preparedness and complication-readiness measures for pregnant women, their spouses and their families (McPherson, Khadka, Moore & Sharma, 2006).