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A qualitative focus group study concerning perceptions and experiences of Nigerian mothers on stillbirths

Milton, R., Alkali, F. I., Modibbo, F., Sanders, J., Mukaddas, A. S., Kassim, A., S'ad, F. H., Tukur, F. M., Pell, B., Hood, K., Ghazal, P. and Iregbu, K. C. 2021. A qualitative focus group study concerning perceptions and experiences of Nigerian mothers on stillbirths. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 21 (1) , 830. 10.1186/s12884-021-04207-4

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Objective To explore the experiences and perceptions of stillbirth among mothers from a tertiary medical centre in Kano, Northern Nigeria. Design Qualitative, interpretative. Setting Tertiary healthcare facility, Murtala Muhammad Specialist Hospital (MMSH), Kano, Northern Nigeria. Sample Mothers who had given birth to a liveborn baby at the MMSH in the prior 6 months (n = 31). In order to capture the experiences and perception of stillbirth within this cohort we approached mothers who had in a previous pregnancy experienced a stillbirth. Of the 31 who attended 16 had a previous stillbirth. Methods Semi-structured Focus Group Discussions, consisting of open-ended questions about stillbirth, beliefs, experiences and influences were held in MMSH, conducted over 1 day. Results Our findings highlight that this is a resource-poor tertiary facility serving an ever-growing population, increasing strain on the hospital and healthcare workers. Many of the participants highlighted needing permission from certain family members before accessing healthcare or medical treatment. We identified that mothers generally have knowledge on self-care during pregnancy, yet certain societal factors prevented that from being their priority. Judgement and blame was a common theme, yet a complex area entwined with traditions, superstitions and the pressure to procreate with many mothers described being made to feel useless and worthless if they did not birth a live baby. Conclusions As access to healthcare becomes easier, there are certain traditions, family and social dynamics and beliefs which conflict with scientific knowledge and act as a major barrier to uptake of healthcare services. The findings highlight the need for investment in maternity care, appropriate health education and public enlightenment; they will help inform appropriate interventions aimed at reducing stigma around stillbirth and aide in educating mothers about the importance of appropriate health seeking behaviour. Stillbirths are occurring in this area of the world unnecessarily, globally there has been extensive research conducted on stillbirth prevention. This research has highlighted some of the areas which can be tackled by modifying existing successful interventions to work towards reducing preventable stillbirths.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.
Publisher: BioMed Central
ISSN: 1471-2393
Funders: GCRF
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 14 January 2022
Date of Acceptance: 18 October 2021
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2022 12:03

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