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Open Access Research article

Timing and reasons for coming late for the first antenatal care visit by pregnant women at Mulago hospital, Kampala Uganda

Ivan Kisuule1*, Dan K Kaye2, Florence Najjuka3, Stephen K Ssematimba1, Anita Arinda1, Gloria Nakitende1 and Lawrence Otim1

Author Affiliations

1 School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

3 Department of Medical microbiology, College of Health Sciences, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2013, 13:121  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-121

Published: 25 May 2013

Abstract

Background

Mothers who attend antenatal care late miss the opportunity of early detection of HIV and STDs, malaria and anaemia prophylaxis, health education and treatment or prevention of complications. Whereas many women in Mulago hospital make their first antenatal care visit after 20 weeks of gestation, the reasons for coming late are not documented. The objectives were to determine the gestation age at which pregnant women make their first antenatal care visit and the reasons for late coming.

Method

The study was conducted in June 2012 among women with a gestation age of more than 20 weeks on their first antenatal care visit. We collected data on gestation age (from weeks of amenorrhea or based on ultrasound scan) and reasons for coming late.

Results

Four hundred women participated in the study. Their mean age was 25.2 years with a standard deviation of 5.2 years. The majority of the participants were Catholics (n = 126, 31.5%), they lived in a distance of greater than five kilometers from the hospital (n = 201, 50.3%) and had attained secondary education (n = 220, 55.0%). The mean of their weeks of amenorrhea was 27.9 (± 4.6) weeks. The results showed that 291 (72.7%) of the study participants did not know the right gestation age at which a pregnant woman should start attending antenatal care. One hundred and ten (27.5%) agreed that they did not have money for transport to bring them to the hospital while 37 (9.3%) thought that they had to pay for the antenatal care services. Two hundred thirteen (53.3%) reported that they did not have any problem with their current pregnancy and so they saw no reason to come early for antenatal care, even though some of these knew the right gestation age at which they should make their first antenatal care visit.

Conclusion

Pregnant women who come late for antenatal care in Mulago hospital, Uganda are not well-informed about the right gestation age at which they should make their first antenatal care visit and/or of the importance of early attendance at antenatal care.

Keywords:
Timing of first antenatal visit; Antenatal care; Mulago Hospital