This observational study assessed the knowledge of pregnant women attending antenatal clinics at two selected hospitals in Abeokuta South, Nigeria on the causes and risk factors of maternal mortality, identified barriers to knowledge acquisition, and examined the influence of parity of respondents on their knowledge of factors causing maternal mortality. Maternal mortality is extremely high in Nigeria, it is defined as the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management but not from accidental or incidental causes. Descriptive research design was used in this study and qualitative data from 136 respondents selected randomly, were obtained through a self-designed questionnaire, that comprised three sections. Data were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20 using Pearsonâ€™s chi square which indicated that parity of the pregnant women does not have an influence on their knowledge of factors responsible for maternal mortality. Findings revealed that majority (67.6%) of the respondents had high knowledge on the risk factors causing maternal mortality such as care rendered by unskilled medical practitioners, parity, poverty, place of last delivery and low attendance at antenatal clinic. Educational background, marital status, irregular antenatal visits, socio-cultural practices and occupational status were identified as barriers to knowledge acquisition. This paper concluded that pregnant women may have a high knowledge about the factors responsible for maternal mortality. This is probably due to the fact that all respondents had formal education and because they were interviewed on antenatal clinic days, which suggests that they might have heard about the causes and risk factors for maternal mortality during their visits. Authors recommended that government should employ qualified health professionals and provide medical subsidy, it is hoped that this will ensure that pregnant women get quality care throughout the period of pregnancy and delivery.
Keywords: Antenatal, causes, knowledge, maternal mortality, pregnant women, risk factors