Maternal and child factors associated with late neonatal bathing practices in Nigeria : evidence from a national survey

Francis APPIAH, Kenneth Setorwu ADDE, Kingsley BOAKYE*, Justice Ofosu Darko FENTENG, Andrews Ohene DARTEH, Tarif SALIHU, Edward Kwabena AMEYAW, Patience Ansomah AYERAKWAH

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Twohundred and seventy out of every thousand live births died in Nigeria in 2019. These deaths were attributable to infections, complications of preterm birth, and intrapartum-related conditions. The World Health Organization recommends withholding bathing of neonates until 24 h after birth or until their vital signs become stable to prevent hypothermia. Despite the link between neonatal bathing and thermal control, the subject is understudied in Nigeria. This study aimed at investigating the factors associated with late neonatal bathing practices in Nigeria. 

Methods: The study adopted a cross-sectional design and extracted data from the women’s file of the 2018 Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey. The unit of analysis was limited to 12,972 women who had complete data for the study. We applied chi-square test of independence to ascertain the association between the outcome variable and explanatory variables. At 95% confidence interval, two logistic regression models were built with Model I consisting of only maternal factors whilst Model II contained both maternal and child factors, and results were presented in adjusted odds ratio. 

Results: Descriptively, 12% (CI = 0.122–0.134) of the women bathed their neonates after 24 h of delivery. Inferentially, women with secondary/higher education [AOR = 1.30, CI = 1.05–1.61], the rich [AOR = 1.24, CI = 1.03–1.50], those with access to mass media [AOR = 131, CI = 1.15–1.50], women that professed other religions [AOR = 9.28, CI = 4.24–17.56], those who delivered in a health facility [AOR = 1.93, CI = 1.66–2.25], whose child was small in size at birth [AOR = 1.46, CI = 1.21–1.77] and delivered by caesarean section [AOR = 2.50, CI = 1.97–3.18] had higher odds of bathing their neonates 24 h after birth. 

Conclusions: The proportion of women who practised late neonatal bathing was generally low. To improve the practice of late neonatal bathing, much-concerted effort should be directed to women’s education and approaches to increasing receptivity of late neonatal bathing among pregnant women through the media. The Nigerian Ministry of Health should incorporate routine counselling on the risks of bathing newborns prematurely into antenatal and postnatal care services.

Original languageEnglish
Article number131
Number of pages11
JournalReproductive Health
Issue number1
Early online date2 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, BioMed Central Ltd., part of Springer Nature.


  • Late neonatal bathing
  • Maternal and child factors
  • Neonatal health
  • Nigerian Demographic and Health Survey
  • Reproductive health


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