BACKGROUND: Hypertensive disorders in pregnancy (HDP) are the most common medical disorders in pregnancy and the greatest single cause of maternal mortality worldwide. Ethnicity appears to be a significant risk factor for pregnancy related mortality and for severe maternal morbidity. Most of the complications caused by HDP may be reduced by early detection and proper management. Health education during antenatal care attendance may play an important role in preventing the disease to aggravate. The purpose of this study was to investigate the status of knowledge that Moroccan pregnant women, both in Morocco and in the Netherlands, have of HDP in terms of symptoms, complications, treatment and management.
METHODS: A qualitative research design was used to explore and describe the knowledge of HDP of pregnant Moroccan women. Interviews were held on the basis of a topic list. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, coded and analysed.
RESULTS: Nineteen Moroccan women were interviewed, nine in the Netherlands and ten in Morocco. Half of them never heard about hypertension in pregnancy and had no knowledge of symptoms or alarm signals related to HDP. All women acknowledged the importance of knowledge of HDP because of the possibly dangerous complications. The interviewees stated that information on symptoms, alarm signs and complications is the most important information. Nearly all women stated that communicating information via movies was the most appropriate tool to inform Moroccan pregnant women about HDP.
CONCLUSIONS: The knowledge of Moroccan women, living in Morocco or in the Netherlands, of symptoms and alarm signs related to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy was very limited, if not absent. Since early detection provides the opportunity for follow-up management and/or treatment, this may reduce complications of HDP. Therefore, it is important to inform pregnant women about the signs and symptoms of HDP.