Half sought medical care – Study
By Ruwan Laknath Jayakody
In half of the pregnant mothers, ill-health episodes had affected their routine daily activities and one third had sought medical care in this regard, while half of those who sought medical care had sought it in the private sector.
Common ill health episodes during the early pregnancy include nausea and vomiting, respiratory symptoms, headache and faintishness.
This was said in an oral presentation titled 'Minor ailments during early pregnancy: evidence from a pregnancy cohort in the Anuradhapura District,' authored by S. Gunarathne, N. Wickramasinghe, T. Agampodi and S. Agampodi (attached to the Department of Community Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine and Allied Sciences of the Rajarata University) and R. Prasanna (attached to the Department of Economics of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of the Rajarata University) and published in the Journal of the College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka.
The study was conducted in 22 Medical Officer of Health areas in the Anuradhapura District. Pregnant women in the first trimester, who were registered in the field antenatal clinics, were recruited. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect details on self-reported episodes of ill health. The sample had 1,206 mothers. The mean age was 28.2 years. The majority (85.5 per cent) were unemployed.
Of them, the majority (56455.7 per cent) had nausea and vomiting, while 104 (10.3 per cent) had respiratory symptoms and 96 (9.5 per cent) had headache and faintishness. The majority 829 (82.6 per cent) thought that their ill health episode was due to pregnancy. A total of 498 (49.2 per cent) claimed that the symptoms affected their routine daily activities.
Only 340 (33.6 per cent) had sought medical care in this regard and out of them, the majority (182-53.5 per cent) had used private medical services while 147 (43.2 per cent) had used Government medical services. Only, 98 (9.6 per cent) required hospitalisation. In the sample, the total number of days spent in the hospital was 247, while the mean hospital stay was 2.5 days.
The researchers recommended that evidence-based management guidelines need to be incorporated into the national maternal care package, with a view to the early identification and prompt management of maternal morbidities.