Determinants of self medication practices among pregnant women in Ibadan, Nigeria

  • Kazeem B. YusuffEmail author
  • Louis-Domeih Omarusehe
Research Article


Objective To assess the frequency and evaluate the factors underlining self-medication with orthodox and herbal medicines among pregnant women in Ibadan, Nigeria. Setting Antenatal clinics at the major antenatal care facility in Ibadan, south-western Nigeria. Methods A prospective cross-sectional study with a pre-tested 15-item structured questionnaire over a 12 week period among 1,650 pregnant women who attended antenatal clinics at a major antenatal care facility in Ibadan, south-western Nigeria. Data analysis was done with Chi-square, multivariate logistic regression and summary statistics. Main outcome measure Frequency and major factors associated with self-medication in pregnancy. Results The response and completion rate was 96.6% (1,594) [mean age ± SD 27 ± 5.3 years]. The majority of the respondents were literate (92.6%), self-employed (61.5%) and in the third trimester (49.5%). A significant majority (63.8%) used self-medication (orthodox and herbal medicines) as their first response to perceived ill-health (P < 0.001). Self-medication in pregnancy was strongly associated with self-employment (OR: 3.8 (2.6–4.7), unemployment (OR: 2.6 (1.4–4.2) and third trimester of pregnancy (OR: 4.2 (3.1–5.6). The major over-the-counter medicines and potentially harmful prescription medicines kept at home for self-medication were Paracetamol, vitamins and haematinics; and piroxicam, dipyrone, chloramphenicol and Diazepam respectively. About one-third of the respondents who self-medicated (1,017) used local herbs (31.2%). The most frequent source of the medicines purchased during self-medication was patent medicine stores (55%). Mothers-in-law and relatives (41.3%) were the most frequently cited sources of advice during self-medication. Miscarriage/bleeding (44.3%) was the most frequently cited potential adverse effect that could occur with the use of certain medicines during pregnancy. Only 32% of respondents could identify medicines that are potentially harmful in pregnancy. Conclusion Poorly guided self-medication with prescription, over-the-counter and herbal medicines is pervasive and significantly associated with gestational age and occupational pattern among pregnant women in Ibadan, south-western. A majority lacked the knowledge of potential adverse outcomes associated with the use of certain medicines, and the potentially harmful medicines to avoid during pregnancy.


Nigeria Pregnancy Self-medication 



We acknowledge the guidance and support of Prof. Fola Tayo, Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Biopharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria.



Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacy Administration and Practice, Faculty of PharmacyRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Administration, Faculty of PharmacyUniversity of IbadanIbadanNigeria
  3. 3.Pharmacy DepartmentUniversity College HospitalIbadanNigeria

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