Factors associated with the use and quality of antenatal care in Nepal: a population-based study using the demographic and health survey data
1 School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
2 Australians for Women’s Health, Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia
BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2014, 14:94 doi:10.1186/1471-2393-14-94Published: 3 March 2014
Good quality antenatal care (ANC) reduces maternal and neonatal mortality and improves health outcomes, particularly in low-income countries. Quality of ANC is measured by three dimensions: number of visits, timing of initiation of care and inclusion of all recommended components of care. Although some studies report on predictors of the first two indicators, no studies on the third indicator, which measures quality of ANC received, have been conducted in Nepal. Nepal follows the World Health Organization’s recommendations of initiation of ANC within the first four months of pregnancy and at least four ANC visits during the course of an uncomplicated pregnancy. This study aimed to identify factors associated with 1) attendance at four or more ANC visits and 2) receipt of good quality ANC.
Data from Nepal Demographic and Health Survey 2011 were analysed for 4,079 mothers. Good quality ANC was defined as that which included all seven recommended components: blood pressure measurement; urine tests for detecting bacteriuria and proteinuria; blood tests for syphilis and anaemia; and provision of iron supplementation, intestinal parasite drugs, tetanus toxoid injections and health education.
Half the women had four or more ANC visits and 85% had at least one visit. Health education, iron supplementation, blood pressure measurement and tetanus toxoid were the more commonly received components of ANC. Older age, higher parity, and higher levels of education and household economic status of the women were predictors of both attendance at four or more visits and receipt of good quality ANC. Women who did not smoke, had a say in decision-making, whose husbands had higher levels of education and were involved in occupations other than agriculture were more likely to attend four or more visits. Other predictors of women’s receipt of good quality ANC were receiving their ANC from a skilled provider, in a hospital, living in an urban area and being exposed to general media.
Continued efforts at improving access to quality ANC in Nepal are required. In the short term, less educated women from socioeconomically disadvantaged households require targeting. Long-term improvements require a focus on improving female education.