Author(s): Sharma SK
BACKGROUND: Importance of maternal health has been recognized over the last decade, however information about the perception of illness and healthcare behavior of obstetric complication is lacking. OBJECTIVE: This study assesses women ' s knowledge, perception, and experience of obstetric complication and care-seeking behavior and explores the factors associated with the morbidity and the constraints hindering them from seeking timely care. METHODS: Twenty one in-depth interviews on the perceptions, experience and care seeking behavior related to pregnancy and delivery of Women at Kanchanaburi Demographic Surveillance site of Thailand were conducted. A structured guideline was first prepared in English and translated into Thai language. An interpreter was hired to interview women at the Thai-Myanmar border to translate Thai into local language. A moderator note-taker, and interpreter were present throughout the interview period and tape recorded the conversation. RESULTS: In-depth interview revealed that even though quality maternal health care was accessible to most of the women, obstetric complication was prevalent and they were not seeking appropriate care specifically in highland. Too early and too late marriage, frequent child bearing, poverty, hard work, poor nutrition and traditional practices were the reasons for complications. Poor transportation, lack of health insurance, inadequate training of health personnel, poor health facilities and the perception that the complications are normal for pregnant women were the main reasons for not seeking appropriate care. CONCLUSIONS: Perceived reasons for complications among women living in Kanchanaburi, Thailand were early marriage, frequent childbearing, hard work, poor nutrition and traditional practices. The constraints hindering them from seeking care for the complications were perceived to be the lack of access to health personnel, health facilities, and proper transportation. These issues seemed to be related to poverty.