Authors: Ugoma Deborah Ezeani, Olaoluwa Samson Agbaje, Chucks E. Ezedum, Prince Iheanachor Christian Umoke, Cylia N. Iweama, Kiloh A. Nfor
Nigeria accounts for a considerable proportion of maternal deaths that occur annually worldwide. The study investigated the incidence of pre-pregnancy and pregnancy-related illnesses in women accessing antenatal care services at health facilities in Awka South Local Government Area, Anambra State. The study adopted cross-sectional research design. The population comprised 3,207 registered pregnant women from January to September 2012. The sample for the study consisted of 650 pregnant women. A pre-tested questionnaire was administered by the interviewers to women who had attended antenatal care services within six months prior to the date of data collection. Malaria (66.6%), morning sickness (58.0%), hyperemesis gravidarum (39.7%), sexually transmitted infections (28.6%), gestational diabetes (23.8%), pre-eclampsia and eclampsia (23.0%) and anaemia (15.8%) were the common illnesses in women. There were statistically significant differences in the women’s pre-pregnancy illnesses according to the level of education (p = 0.032) and pregnancy-related illnesses according to age (p = 0.023) and level of education (p = 0.045). It was concluded that the interplay of several factors is responsible for the incidence of pre-pregnancy and pregnancy-related illnesses in women. Identification of these factors is expedient while scaling up of maternal health interventions; improved access and uptake of facility-based care hopefully, will drastically reduce morbid conditions in women and improve maternal and newborn outcomes. Key words: Prevalence, Pregnancy-related illnesses, antenatal care, maternal health.