Knowledge of Causes of Maternal Deaths and Maternal Health Seeking Behaviour in Nigeria

  • Ayotunde Titilayo Population Training and Research Unit
  • Martin E Palamuleni North West University
  • Olusola Omisakin Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife,
Keywords: Maternal deaths, Health seeking behaviour, Nigeria


Nigeria has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. The aim of this study is to examine the influence of women’s knowledge of maternal death on their health seeking behaviour during pregnancy and childbirth. The study extracted and utilized respondents who had childbirth within three years prior to 2013 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey. Bivariate analysis and logistic regressions were used to assess the association between knowledge of maternal death, selected socio-economic factors and health seeking behaviour. The results reveal that 34% did not attend antenatal visits, 27% of the respondents initiated antenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy and 63% had birth deliveries outside the health facility. This confirms that non-use of health facilities during pregnancy and delivery contributes to the high maternal mortality in Nigeria. The multivariate analysis indicates that the odds ratio of good health-seeking behaviour is significantly generally low among women who had poor knowledge about the causes of maternal death than those who had good knowledge. Other factors influencing maternal-health seeking behaviour are region, education and wealth status. Poor maternal health-seeking behaviour was high among women in the Northern region, the poor women and women who had low educational background. Emphasis should be placed on these factors in considering strategies to improve the maternal health care system in Nigeria.

Author Biographies

Ayotunde Titilayo, Population Training and Research Unit
North West University
Martin E Palamuleni, North West University
Population Training and Research Unit,
Olusola Omisakin, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife,
Demography and Social Statistics Department