Factors influencing knowledge and practice of birth preparedness and complication readiness in sub-saharan Africa: a narrative review of cross-sectional studies

Joshua Sumankuuro, Judith Crockett, Shaoyu Wang


Birth preparedness and complication readiness (BP/CR) is a strategy that encourages pregnant women, their families, and communities to effectively plan for births and deal with emergencies, if they occur. The study assessed knowledge on and practice of BP/CR among expectant mothers, partners and community. A systematic search of peer reviewed journals in English language quantitative and qualitative studies published between 2010 and 2015 was undertaken using Primo search, Ovid and Scopus databases. Knowledge of birth preparedness was higher than knowledge of pregnancy danger signs (complication readiness) in many studies, whilst implementation of BP/CR interventions was lower than level of knowledge in all studies. Education, parity, antenatal care visits, age, place of residence and gender were better predictors of knowledge on BP/CR; financial difficulties, employment status, knowledge of danger signs, distance to health facility, the involvement of men and community perceptions were significant determinants of BP/CR practice. Relevant studies are welcomed on the perceptions and challenges of translating BP/CR knowledge into practice in hard-to-reach communities in sub-Saharan Africa.


Birth preparedness and complications readiness, Factors, Knowledge and practice, Maternal healthcare, Sub-Saharan Africa

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