Reported morbid symptoms and conditions of pregnant, intrapartum and postpartum women: experience from three villages
Investigate reported morbid symptoms and conditions of antepartum, intrapartum and postpartum women. Methodology: In early 1996, a cross-sectional survey was conducted in three villages outside ICDDR.B Matlab intervention and comparison areas. All married women aged 14-49 years were identified, and 208 women were found to be either pregnant or within 12 weeks of postpartum period. One hundred and fifty-seven (76%) of these women were interviewed for morbid symptoms and conditions they had during the survey, and were also asked to recall symptoms and conditions they suffered during their antepartum, intrapartum or postpartum periods. Results: During the survey, 127 (81 %) women reported at least one morbid symptom or condition, while 85 (54.1 %) women reported symptoms, indicative of anaemia, 36 (22%) leukorrhoea, 34 (21.7%) urinary problems, and 33 (21%) genital prolapse. In addition, 67 (43%) women reported postpartum haemorrhage, 44 (28%) prolonged, obstructed or difficult labour, 27 (17.2%)perineal tear, 19(12 %) breast problems, and 16(10%) postpartum fever. Women of older age and higher parity were more likely to report at least one morbid symptom or condition and also were more likely to report symptoms, indicative of anaemia (p<.05). Conclusion: Pregnant, intrapartum and postpartum women in rural Bangladesh bear significant burden of morbid symptoms and conditions, especially with increasing age and parity. Though not validated by physical examinations or laboratory tests, the data suggest a true account of women's perceptions of their own illnesses which are of crucial importance since women, in most situations, use health services according to their perceptions of sufferings. To improve the rural women's health, health policy-makers need to be aware of women's health problems as women view them.