Risk perceptions among high-risk pregnant women in an aspirational district of India: a qualitative study
Keywords:High risk, Risk acceptance, Risk denial, Risk perception
Background: Attitude and behavior towards health seeking decisions are affected by one’s risk perceptions. This formed a key component in many health behavior-change theories and is responsible for reduction of perinatal mortality. A woman’s perception of risk affects her decisions about seeking obstetric care. This study explored the perceptions of high-risk pregnancy among women with high risk factors.
Methods: A qualitative study was conducted in an aspirational district of India. Participants included pregnant women in third trimester with high risk factors. In-depth interviews were conducted with 34 participants using semi-structured interview schedule.
Results: Three main themes emerged in this study: (i) knowledge of risk (ii) attitude towards risk (iii) adoption behavior. The study found out women’s lack of understanding on high-risk conditions during pregnancy, especially among younger age group. Majority denied the risk factor and normalized delivery on one’s faith.
Conclusions: The findings of this study provide a glimpse into how women perceived risk and the reasons that lead them to deny the risks. Women must understand their risk in the same way as their healthcare providers. If an event is not appraised as severe, there will be no change in behavioral intentions inspite of all the efforts put by the government for reducing perinatal mortality.
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