Factors associated with seeking treatment for postpartum morbidities in rural India

Aditya Singh, Abhishek Kumar

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To understand the prevalence of postpartum morbidities and factors associated with treatment-seeking behaviour among currently married women aged 15-49 residing in rural India.

We used data from the nationally representative District Level Household Survey from 2007-2008. Cross-tabulation was used to understand the differentials for the prevalence of postpartum morbidities and treatment-seeking behaviours across selected background characteristics. Two-level binary logistic regression was applied to understand the factors associated with treatment-seeking behaviour.

Approximately 39.8% of rural women suffered from at least one of the six postpartum morbidities including high fever, lower abdominal pain, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, excessive bleeding, convulsions, and severe headache. Morbidities were more prevalent among poor, illiterate, Muslim, and high-parity women. About 55.1% of these rural women sought treatment/consultation for their problems. The odds of seeking treatment/consultation increased as economic status and years of schooling among both the woman and her husband increased. Poor, uneducated, unemployed, Hindu, and tribal women were less likely to seek treatment/consultation for postpartum morbidities than their counterparts were. The odds of seeking treatment/consultation decreased as the distance to the nearest private health facility increased. Most women visited a private hospital (46.3%) or a friend/family member’s home (20.8%) for treatment/consultation. Only a small percentage visited publicly funded health institutions such as a primary health centre (8.8%), community health centre (6.5%), health sub-centre (2.8%), or district hospital (13.1%). Rural women from the northeast region of India were 50% less likely to seek treatment/consultation than women from the central region were.

Providing antenatal and delivery care, and ensuring nearby government healthcare facilities are available to serve rural women might increase the likelihood of care-seeking for postpartum morbidities. Targeted interventions for vulnerable groups should be considered in future policies to increase the likelihood women will seek treatment or advice postpartum.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2014026
JournalEpidemiology and Health
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2014


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