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What impact does contact with the prenatal care system have on women's use of facility delivery? Evidence from low-income countries
Authors: Guliani H, Sepehri A, Serieux J.
Source: Social Science and Medicine, 2012 Jun;74(12):1882-90. Epub 2012 Mar 17.
Topic(s): Delivery care
Maternal health
Reproductive health
Country: More than one region
  Multiple Regions
Published: JUN 2012
Abstract: Prenatal and delivery care are critical both for maternal and newborn health. Using the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) data for thirty-two low-income countries across Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, and employing a two-level random-intercept model, this paper empirically assesses the influence of prenatal attendance and a wide array of observed individual-, household- and community-level characteristics on a woman's decision to give birth at a health facility or at home. The results show that prenatal attendance does appreciably influence the use of facility delivery in all three geographical regions, with women having four visits being 7.3 times more likely than those with no prenatal care to deliver at a health facility. These variations are more pronounced for Sub-Saharan Africa. The influence of the number of prenatal visits, maternal age and education, parity level, and economic status of the birthing women on the place of delivery is found to vary across the three geographical regions. The results also indicate that obstetrics care is geographically and economically more accessible to urban and rural women from the non-poor households than those from the poor households. The strong influence of number of visits, household wealth, education and regional poverty on the site of delivery setting suggests that policies aimed at increasing the use of obstetric care programs should be linked with the objectives of social development programs such as poverty reduction, enhancing the status of women, and increasing primary and secondary school enrollment rate among girls.