Obstructed labour in a Nigerian tertiary health facility: a mixed-method study

Akaninyene Eseme Ubom, Omotade Adebimpe Ijarotimi, Ifeoluwa Emmanuel Ogunduyile, Ayobami Omilakin, Solomon Nyeche, Emeka Philip Igbodike, Ogunjide Olakunle Emmanuel, Ernest Okechukwu Orji, John Igemo Ikimalo, Adebanjo Babalola Adeyemi


Background: Obstructed labour remains a leading cause of maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity in sub-Saharan Africa. This study aimed to determine the incidence, causes, complications and outcomes of obstructed labour at the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex (OAUTHC), Ile-Ife, Osun state, Nigeria.

Methods: A mixed methods approach was employed for this study. A 10-year retrospective review of all cases of obstructed labour managed at the OAUTHC, between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2017, was done. Ten in-depth interviews were conducted for some selected patients. The quantitative data was analysed using SPSS version 24, while the qualitative data was analyzed with NVivo version 12.

Results: The incidence of obstructed labour was 1.99%. Most of the patients were unbooked (217, 90.4%), primigravid (138, 57.5%), and either had no formal or only primary/secondary education (120, 50%). Cephalopelvic disproportion (CPD) was the commonest cause of obstructed labour (227, 94.6%). The most common maternal complication was wound infection (48, 20%). There were three maternal deaths, giving a case fatality rate of 1.25%. The most common foetal complication was birth asphyxia (85, 34.7%). The perinatal mortality rate was 18.8 %. From the qualitative arm of the study, reasons given by parturients who suffered obstructed labour, for avoiding hospitals for delivery, included religion, finance, fear of hospitals, faith/belief in mission homes/maternity houses, and proximity.

Conclusions: Obstructed labour remains an important obstetric problem in our environment, contributing significantly to the burden of maternal and perinatal mortality and morbidity.



Maternal morbidity, Maternal mortality, Obstructed labour, Perinatal morbidity, Perinatal mortality, Nigeria

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