, 13:45,
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Date: 20 Feb 2013

Knowledge of pregnant women about birth defects



Occurrence of birth defects (BD) remains an important public health issue. Inadequate knowledge about the defects among prospective mothers could result in delayed interventions. The study determined the knowledge of BD among pregnant women in relation to their socio-demographic profile.


Four hundred and forty-three (443) pregnant women gave their consent to participate in this study. A researcher-administered questionnaire was used to obtain information on socio-demographic characteristics from the participants and their knowledge about BD. The questionnaire was assessed for test re-test reliability before been administered. The possible scores on the knowledge domain of the questionnaire were categorized into three levels: low knowledge (0–4), moderate knowledge (5–8) and high knowledge (9–12) levels. Data were analyzed using percentages while Spearman’s rank correlation was used to determine the relationship between the knowledge of BD among the participants and their socio-demographic profile. Alpha level was set at p < 0.05.


A greater proportion of the participants, 235(53.0%) were found in the age range 21 to 30 years, and 234(52.8%) attained secondary level of education. Majority of the participants, 205(46.3%) had high knowledge on the risk factors while 213(48.1%) and 224(50.6%) had moderate overall knowledge and specific knowledge about BD respectively. Most of the participants (48.1%) believed that BD were of supernatural origin. The age, level of education, number of antenatal visits and parity of the participants were not significantly correlated (p > 0.05) with their specific and overall knowledge.


Particpants generally had moderate knowledge about BD. However, this had no bearing on their socio-demographic profile. The knowledge base about BD seems to be influenced by traditional belief of the participants. This finding should therefore serve as a guide for health care providers while planning awareness campaign about BD.