Published: 2020-07-21

Pregnant women’s self-referral and perspectives on the use of prenatal ultrasound in a low-resource setting

Nnenna A. Nweke, Johnbosco I. Nwafor, Bridget N. Uche-Nwidagu, Wendy C. Oliobi, Paschal C. Okoye, Malachy C. Onyema


Background: Obstetric ultrasound forms an essential part of antenatal care around the world. The ultrasound is now widely available and accessible in most government and private health facilities in developing countries. Aim of this study was to determine the reasons for pregnant women’s self-referral and perspectives on the use of obstetric ultrasound.

Methods: This was a questionnaire-based cross-sectional study conducted among 198 consenting pregnant women attending prenatal care at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Nigeria.

Results: Of 198 participants, 182 (91.9%) reported performing obstetric ultrasound examination without doctor’s request. Determination of fetal viability (40.7%) was the commonest reason for self-referral to ultrasound examination. Other common reasons include vaginal bleeding (15.3%), estimation of gestational age (9.3%), fetal sex determination (7.7%) and estimation of date of delivery (7.6%). Over half (57.7%) of the participants reported that the prenatal ultrasonography was costly whereas 76.9% believed that ultrasound use was unsafe in pregnancy.

Conclusions: The study participants were highly aware of the import of ultrasonography in pregnancy confirmation, dating and fetal wellbeing. As a result, are always willing to carryout prenatal ultrasound even without doctors’ request.


Obstetric ultrasound, Perspectives, Pregnant mother’s self-referral

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