Maternal health information needs of women: A survey of literature
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Maternal health information is a fundamental building block of women’s health during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. Despite numerous global concerns and interests in maternal and child health care, there are still unmet maternal information needs of women. Women tend to be given inadequate information, education and communication and as a result, the number of women dying during child birth is still unacceptable especially in developing countries. This study was aimed at exploring maternal health information needs of women by reviewing literature from several sources published in English between 2000 and 2017. Specifically, maternal health information needs and the challenges in meeting those needs were investigated. The results of the review indicated that women require maternal health information at three stages: during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. During pregnancy, women need information on importance of regular checkups, place of delivery, birth preparedness, pregnancy period, nutrition, miscarriage, pregnancy complications or danger signs, sexual and family relations, fetus development, expected child, TB, HIV and malaria in pregnancy, medicines in pregnancy, family planning, and exercise. During childbirth, women, according to the findings require information on infant care, child immunization, infant feeding, maternal recovery, hygiene, premature birth, low birth weight, infections, umbilical cord care and diarrhea. Information on self-care (hygiene, nutrition, weight loss); sexual relationship; daily care of infant, house and family; emotional support, physical rest and sleep is important during postpartum period. Some challenges that prevent women from receiving or seeking maternal information include illiteracy, poverty, distance, language barrier, inadequate services, lack of information, inadequate human resources, poor attitudes of health workers towards women and cultural practices. The paper concluded that maternal health information has significant influence on the health of the mother and the newborn child. Therefore, health practitioners should intensify efforts to meet the maternal information needs of women.
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