Cultural Beliefs and Practices Influencing the Health Seeking Behaviour of Women During Pregnancy in Ota, Southwest Nigeria

Adeosun, Adedoyin ORCID: 2021, Cultural Beliefs and Practices Influencing the Health Seeking Behaviour of Women During Pregnancy in Ota, Southwest Nigeria , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Maternal mortality is a global health challenge affecting women within the reproductive age group. The main causes of maternal death in low and middle- income countries are infections, obstructed labour, eclampsia, haemorrhage, and unsafe abortion. Sociological, economic, and demographic factors are the indirect factors contributing to poor maternal health outcomes. The review of the literature shows that the utilisation of antenatal care (ANC) and delivery in the presence of skilled birth attendants are evidenced-based approaches to improving pregnancy outcomes and reducing pregnancy-related complications. The medical literature currently provides little information about beliefs and practices in relation to other factors within the human environment. Yet these factors are considered an essential part of ANC that cannot be ignored due to their impact on pregnancy outcomes. While healthcare stakeholders in different countries with high maternal healthcare indexes are developing new strategies targeted at reducing maternal deaths and improving pregnancy outcomes, this has not been effective in proffering a solution to all identified pregnancy-related issues. Thus, it is important to develop new approaches that will focus more on the needs of women seeking healthcare. This research was carried out through an ethnographic approach, with the aim of exploring the beliefs and practices that may influence the health seeking behaviour of women in Nigeria in relation to their ANC needs. The study participants consisted of eight maternity service providers and twenty pregnant women in Ota, a community located in the south- western part of Nigeria. The pregnant women who were accessing a range of maternity service providers, were selected through a purposive sampling method whilst the maternity service providers were selected through the snowballing method. The data for the study were collected through semi-structured interviews and observations. The data were then analysed through thematic analysis. The findings of this study provide insights into the indigenous beliefs and practices of the stakeholders involved in pregnancy, such as the use of safety pins, the preparation and consumption of a special soup made with snail or fish. In addition, due to previous pregnancy experience or fear of the unknown outcome of pregnancy, women seek care from local maternity service providers for protection from evil spirits. According to their individual beliefs, women will seek care from a range of maternity service providers to ensure they have a safe childbirth, where mother and child are alive and healthy. This study contributes to the body of knowledge by offering, as its central theme, a theoretical rendering of what may be described as the supernatural power of caring. The participants in this study believe in the existence of a form of supernatural power. This power is being used for protection from any form of harm that could affect either the mother or the baby during pregnancy or on the day of childbirth. This unique perspective highlights the need to acknowledge indigenous practices alongside a biomedical model of care.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Brettle, Alison (Supervisor) and Davis, Dilla (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society
Depositing User: Adedoyin Adeosun
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2022 16:31
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2022 02:30

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