Maternal postpartum morbidity in Marrakech: what women feel what doctors diagnose?

B. Assarag, D. Dubourg, A. Maaroufi, B. Dujardin, V. De Brouwere

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Information about postpartum maternal morbidity in developing countries is limited and often based on information obtained from hospitals. As a result, the reports do not usually reflect the true magnitude of obstetric complications and poor management at delivery. In Morocco, little is known about obstetric maternal morbidity. Our aim was to measure and identify the causes of postpartum morbidity 6 weeks after delivery and to compare women's perception of their health during this period to their medical diagnoses. METHODS: We did a cross-sectional study of all women, independent of place of delivery, in Al Massira district, Marrakech, from December 2010 to March 2012. All women were clinically examined 6 to 8 weeks postpartum for delivery-related morbidities. We coupled a clinical examination with a questionnaire and laboratory tests (hemoglobin). RESULTS: During postpartum consultation, 44% of women expressed at least one complaint. Complaints related to mental health were most often reported (10%), followed by genital infections (8%). Only 9% of women sought treatment for their symptoms before the postpartum visit. Women who were aged >=30 years, employed, belonged to highest socioeconomic class, and had obstetric complications during birth or delivered in a private facility or at home were more likely to report a complaint. Overall, 60% of women received a medical diagnosis related to their complaint, most of which were related to gynecological problems (22%), followed by laboratory-confirmed anemia (19%). Problems related to mental health represented only 5% of the diagnoses. The comparative analysis between perceived and diagnosed morbidity highlighted discrepancies between complaints that women expressed during their postpartum consultation and those they received from a physician. CONCLUSIONS: A better understanding of postpartum complaints is one of the de facto essential elements to ensuring quality of care for women. Sensitizing and training clinicians in mental health services is important to respond to women's needs and improve the quality of maternal care.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Volume13
Pages (from-to)225
Number of pages8
ISSN1471-2393
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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