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Knowledge of Danger Signs After Delivery

Indicator Phrasing

% of mothers of children 0-23 months who know at least three danger signs for the mother after birth
See indicator in other languages

Indicator Phrasing

English: % of mothers of children 0-23 months who know at least three danger signs for the mother after birth

French: % de mères d'enfants de 0 à 23 mois qui connaissent au moins trois signes de danger pour la mère après la naissance

Spanish: % de madres de niños de 0 a 23 meses que conocen al menos tres señales de peligro para la madre después del parto

Portuguese: % de mães de crianças com idades entre 0 a 23 meses que conhecem pelo menos três sinais de perigo para a mãe após o nascimento

Czech: % matek dětí ve věku 0-23 měsíců, které znají alespoň tři příznaky poporodních zdravotních rizik pro matky

What is its purpose?

The indicator measures the proportion of mothers of young children aware of at least three warning signs after pregnancy – one of the essential pre-conditions for women to seek required health care in a timely manner.

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Collect the following data by conducting individual interviews with a representative sample of mothers of children aged 0-23 months:



Q1: Sometimes after delivery, mothers have severe health problems and should be immediately taken to a health facility. In your opinion, what types of symptoms should cause mothers to go to a health facility right away?

A1: _

1) heavy vaginal bleeding

2) fast/ difficult breathing

3) loss of consciousness

3) placenta not delivered within 30 minutes after delivery

4) fever with or without chills

5) foul-smelling discharge from the vagina

6) convulsions/ rigidity

7) severe headache, visual disturbances

8) no urine output in first eight hours

9) severe abdominal pain

10) pain in calf

11) behaviour that indicates that the mother may hurt herself or the baby


Note: If less than three signs are stated, keep probing: “Are there any other warning signs you know?”


To calculate the indicator’s value, divide the number of respondents aware of at least three of the pre-defined warning signs by the total number of respondents. Multiply the result by 100 to convert it to a percentage. 

Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by location (rural/ urban), socio-economic characteristics (education level, wealth quintile) and the number of respondent’s children (one, two, three, four …).

Important Comments

1) Consider using a slightly revised indicator for assessing the knowledge of important family members who accompany mothers during and after delivery, such as their mothers, husbands or mothers-in-law.


2) This indicator relies on an accurate age assessment. Since people often do not remember the exact dates of their children’s birth, the data collectors should always verify the child’s age. This can be done by reviewing the child’s birth certificate, vaccination card or another document; however, since many caregivers do not have such documents (and since they can include mistakes), it is essential that your data collectors are able to verify the child’s age by using local events calendars. Read FAO’s Guidelines (see below) to learn how to prepare local events calendars and how to train data collectors in their correct use.

This guidance was prepared by People in Need ©

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