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Illnesses and Illness Behaviour of Pregnant Women Accessing Antenatal Services in Government Health Facilities in Awka South Local Government Area, Anambra State.


Background to the Study
 Illness can have adverse effects on pregnant women as it does on other groups of people. However, a study by United States Agency for International Development, USAID (2007) suggested that illnesses can affect the course of pregnancy and the health of the foetus. According to World Health Orgnaization, WHO (2001), every year world wide, nearly 500,000 pregnant women die as a result of complications from illnesses and 99 per cent of these deaths occur in developing countries such as Nigeria. In Nigeria, illnesses contribute to high rate of complications which cause the death of a pregnant woman everyday, and the causes of these deaths are preventable. WHO (2006) shows multiple illnesses which are directly related to pregnancy at overwhelming proporation of 94.4 per cent. Hospital records, according to Federal Ministry of Health, FMOH (2001) have shown that for many years illnesses are the major cause of maternal mortality with variations between residents in urban and rural communities. In Awka South Local Government area of Anambra State, illnesses are the main cause of complications and death during pregnancy. This is according to Hospital Records and Statistics (2012) which suggested that 89 per cent of women experience illnesses while the remaining 11 per cent do not experience any illness during pregnancy. Since illnesses can become complicated during pregnancy and may cause eventual death, it appears that, in terms of modern knowledge, it would be more appropriate and useful to regard signs and symptoms of pregnancy as illnesses for which Western society has already devised an elaborate system of prevention and treatment. Illness according to Alpert, Kosa and Haggerty (2007) is something experienced by an unwell person. They stated that a person may feel ‘ill’ without a disease being evident or diagnosed. According to Schman (2002) illness tends to be used to refer to what is wrong with the patient, what the patient suffers from, what probes him, what he complains of, and what prompts him to seek medical attention. Abanobi (2005) opined that illness is the patient’s experience of ill-health and comprises his impaired sense of wellbeing, his perception that something is wrong with his body, and his various symptoms of pain, distress and disablement. Parsons (2002) stated that it is also a human response to disease process or to the perception by an individual that he has some form of impairment. In the context of the present study, illness is seen as any feeling of unwellness especially by pregnant women. Arkutu (2005) identified two types of illnesses in pregnancy. These are problems that are caused by pregnancy such as ectopic pregnancy, hyperemesis, miscarriage, among others and existing illnesses which anybody can suffer but which are made worse in pregnancy.These include malaria, anaemia, diabetes, essential hypertension, backache and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Illnesses in pregnancy as identified by Elaine (2000); Dunn (2003) Myles (2005); Arkutu (2005); and Nursing/Midwifery Council of Nigeria (2006) are: malaria, anaemia, diabetes, essential hypertension, pulmonary tuberculosis, sickle cell disease, urinary tract infection, cardiac disease, asthma, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), renal problems as well as backache and headache. For the purpose of this study, the researcher investigated the two types of illnesses in pregnancy adopted from Arkutu (2005), which include; illnesses that are caused by pregnancy such as backache, pre-eclampsia, hyperemesis gravidurum, gestational diabetes and essential hypertention and existing illnesses which are made worse in pregnancy such as malaria, anemia, diabetes, hypertension, STIs, tuberculosis and depression. Backache is a threat in pregnancy. Arkutu (2005) pointed out that as the baby grows heavier and a woman’s balance changes, her low back is put under increasing strain. Okeke (2005) explained that during pregnancy, the pregnancy hormones especially progesterone softens the ligament and fibrous tissue that normally hold the spine and pelvic joints firmly together. This according to him is done to allow the pelvics to expand at the moment of birth and so facilitate straight forward delivery. However, the loosening of the joint also has an adverse effect on the woman making her more susceptible to strain.

Project detailsContents
Number of Pages51 pages
Chapter one Introduction
Chapter two Literature review
Chapter three  methodology
Chapter  four  Data analysis
Chapter  five Summary,discussion & recommendations
Chapter summary1 to 5 chapters
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