The relationship between prenatal self- care practices during pregnancy and birth outcomes among young mothers aged 16 to 24 years delivering at Gweru Maternity Hospital
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Youth pregnancy is an important public health problem since it occurs in the context of poor social support and maternal wellbeing. Age at which child bearing begins has an impact on the health and welfare of the mother and her children, with young mothers being more likely to experience adverse birth outcomes. Highest pregnancy rates in the world are in sub – Saharan Africa where maternal deaths in the 16 – 24 years age group is twice as high as their older counterparts. In Zimbabwe 21% of women aged 16 – 24 years have begun child bearing with rural youths and those with less education tending to start earlier (Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, 2009). The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between Prenatal Self-Care Practices during pregnancy and Birth Outcomes among young mothers aged 16 – 24 years delivering at Gweru Maternity Hospital. Orem’s Self-Care model was used to guide the study focusing on the Self-Care, Self-Care Deficit and Supportive Educative Nursing System concepts. A descriptive correlation research design was used. A sample of 80 participants was selected through systematic random sampling, a probability sampling procedure. An interview schedule was used to collect data on self-care practices and birth outcomes. Data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Descriptive and inferential statistics was used to analyse data. Pearson coefficient correlation test was used to analyse the relationship between the two variables, which revealed a significant moderate positive relationship of (r.340 p<0.01) this explained that as self-care practices during pregnancy increases, birth outcomes improved. Midwifery practice should adapt protocols to support individualised self-care practices to maximise improvement in birth outcomes. Further research and inquiry is needed to explore other factors and variables that could have attributed to the high rates of adverse birth outcomes in young women.
Prenatal self-care practice
College of Health Sciences