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Knowledge and practices of traditional birth attendants in prenatal services in Lagos State, Nigeria



Knowledge and practices of traditional birth attendants in prenatal services in Lagos State, Nigeria



African Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences 34(1): 55-58



A questionnaire-based study was conducted on 189 Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) on their knowledge and practices in prenatal services. Only 86 (45.5%) of them associated cessation of menstrual period with pregnancy while others use mystic power 46 (24.3%), early morning sickness, pallor of conjunctiva and reaction to herbs 56 (29.6%) to detect pregnancy. Fundal height n=76 (40.2%), palpation n=82 (43.4%), special soaps and soups n=52 (27.5%) and special devices n=8 (4.2%) are used to determine stages of pregnancy. Foetal health status is determined by regular foetal movements n=95 (50.3%), mystic power n=15 (8%), soap n=2 (1.1%), special concoction 9 (4.8%), health status of mother n=67 (35.4%) and foetal heart beat n=24 (12.7%). Ninety seven (51.3%) of them used herbal treatment, 77 (40.7%) used incantations, 189 (100%) used special soaps as their main methods of delivery, while only 18 (9.5%) of respondents refer difficult cases to hospitals. Instruments used for separating cord were blade 123 (65.1%) and scissors 40 (21.1%). Symptoms recognized by the TBAs as signs of complications in pregnancy were dizziness, swollen feet, pallor, tiredness, absent foetal movement, loss of appetite, heaviness, pain in back/stomach/side, weight loss, vomiting, bleeding, fever/malaria, head ache, bad dream, premature or delayed labour. Although some of them recognized some danger signs in pregnancy and labour, only very few would refer difficult cases for emergency obstetric interventions. Clear protocols for management and referral, which are necessary for improved maternal survival, should be provided through regular training of the TBAs.

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Accession: 049440220

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PMID: 15971555


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