Postnatal care knowledge, attitudes and practices: Evidence from mothers

  • Sharon Kapoma Department of Public Health, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Lusaka
  • Mowa Zambwe Department of Public Health, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Lusaka
Keywords: Postnatal care, primiparous, postnatal period, neonatal period


Introduction: According to the literature that has been examined thus far, the majority of factors that lead to new-born and maternal death can be reduced by providing postnatal care. Critical interventions that can put an end to avoidable maternal and new-born fatalities can be given during the first few days after delivery. Postnatal care is essential for the health and survival of both mother and child because this is still the most vulnerable time for both. We therefore set out to investigate the levels of postnatal care knowledge, attitudes and practices among primiparous mothers at Women and New-born hospitals, at University Teaching Hospitals. Materials and Methods: a quantitative cross sectional study approach was used at a national 3rd level hospital. Quantitative data from primiparous postnatal mothers still hospitalized and from outpatient reviews within 6 days of birth were collected using a convenience sampling method; non-probability sampling. A total of 150 primiparous mothers meeting the inclusion criteria were included based on the hospital statistics for primigravida deliveries. Results: under two-thirds (62.7%) of participants had poor knowledge on postnatal care compared to fewer who had adequate knowledge (37.3%). Majority who demonstrated poor knowledge were likely 19 years and below (82.05%) compared to those 20 years and above (55.86%). On attitudes, participants recognized that postnatal care was both important (n = 138, 92.0%) and necessary (n = 137, 91.3%). About practices majority of the study participants did not receive postnatal care from a professional (n = 107; 72.3%) nor did they practice traditional teachings on postnatal care (n = 100, 84.75%). When compared to those who had inadequate awareness of postnatal care, the number of antenatal care visits was higher for those with appropriate knowledge (Mean difference = -1.44; 95% CI: -2.30 to -0.58. Conclusion: Understanding postnatal care is crucial for maternal and new-born outcomes, especially for the younger and more vulnerable mothers. Creating of postnatal care awareness is likely to increase knowledge in this sensitive group with high likelihood of enhancing positive attitudes and practices of the same. Key words: Postnatal care, Primiparous, Postnatal period, Neonatal period.