Introduction: Neonatal Jaundice (NNJ) is a common disorder worldwide and one of the important contributors to the high neonatal morbidity and mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa. Severe neonatal jaundice leads to brain damage or even death in otherwise healthy newborns. The objective of the study was to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of expectant mothers about neonatal jaundice and its management.
Materials and methods: The study was descriptive cross-sectional, carried out among 389 expectant mothers who were attending the antenatal clinic at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital. A structured, Pre-tested, researcher administered questionnaire was used to interview the respondents. Data was analysed using SPSS version 15.
Results: The mean age of the expectant mothers was 30.5 (SD 4.9) years. Fifty-five (14.1%) of respondents had previous experience with NNJ, 8 (2.1%) lost babies due to NNJ. 334 (85.9%) were aware of the condition, 381 (77.4%) knew how to recognize the symptoms of NNJ, 279 (71.7%) knew a correct method of treatment of NNJ. A large proportion of the expectant mothers 261 (67%) knew some complications of NNJ. Two hundred and five (52.7%) did not know any danger sign of complications of NNJ. Three hundred and fifty five (91.3%) had good attitude towards its management. Majority of expectant mothers whose previous babies had NNJ took the babies to the hospital for treatment. A large proportion also expressed their willingness to seek medical attention if their babies were to develop the condition. Their knowledge of neonatal jaundice was significantly influenced by their level of education and the number of their previous babies who had NNJ.
Conclusion: This study revealed that expectant mothers attending antenatal clinic at UBTH had good knowledge of the treatment and complications of NNJ but inadequate knowledge of the causes and danger signs of the condition. Their attitude and practice towards the management of NNJ was good. It is therefore recommended that Health care providers should give more health education on NNJ to the expectant mothers during antenatal visits.