Womens' opinions on antenatal care in developing countries: results of a study in Cuba, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Argentina
1 Fundación Mexicana para la Salud, Mexico City, Mexico
2 Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, The Population Council. Mexico City, Mexico
3 Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand
4 Centro Rosarino de Estudios Perinatales, Rosario / Centro de Estudios de Estado y Sociedad-CONICET, Buenos Aires, Argentina
5 Hospital Gineco-Obstétrico 'América Arias', Havana, Havana, Cuba
6 National Guard King Khalid Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
7 Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
8 National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, Oxford University, Oxford, England
9 Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
10 National Guard King Khalid Hospital, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
11 Centro Rosarino de Estudios Perinatales, Rosario, Argentina
12 Hospital Gineco-Obstétrico 'América Arias', Havana, Havana, Cuba
13 Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand
14 Latin American Centre for Perinatology and Human Development, Montevideo, Uruguay
15 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Oslo, Norway, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
16 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
17 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden
BMC Public Health 2003, 3:17 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-3-17Published: 20 May 2003
The results of a qualitative study carried out in four developing countries (Cuba, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Argentina) are presented. The study was conducted in the context of a randomised controlled trial to test the benefits of a new antenatal care protocol that reduced the number of visits to the doctor, rationalised the application of technology, and improved the provision of information to women in relation to the traditional protocol applied in each country.
Through focus groups discussions we were able to assess the concepts and expectations underlying women's evaluation of concepts and experiences of the care received in antenatal care clinics. 164 women participated in 24 focus groups discussion in all countries.
Three areas are particularly addressed in this paper: a) concepts about pregnancy and health care, b) experience with health services and health providers, and c) opinions about the modified Antenatal Care (ANC) programme. In all three topics similarities were identified as well as particular opinions related to country specific social and cultural values. In general women have a positive view of the new ANC protocol, particularly regarding the information they receive. However, controversial issues emerged such as the reduction in the number of visits, particularly in Cuba where women are used to have 18 ANC visits in one pregnancy period.
Recommendations to improve ANC services performance are being proposed. Any country interested in the application of a new ANC protocol should regard the opinion and acceptability of women towards changes.