Aim: Antenatal care (ANC) is a key strategy for reducing maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality rates because adequate utilization of antenatal health care services is associated with improved maternal and neonatal health outcomes. The current study aims to identify the factors causing lack of regular attendance at ANC clinics in primiparas and to determine the effects of lack of antenatal care on perinatal outcomes.
Methods: A cross sectional study was carried out at Assiut Women's Health Hospital, Egypt between October 2015 and September 2016. Estimated sample size of 516 primiparous women were divided into two groups according to number of attendance to ANC clinics; women who came four visits or more were considered regular and those who came to less than four visits were considered irregular. Data was collected via a structured interview questionnaire that included personal data, obstetrical, data about current pregnancy and labor. The researcher interviewed the women within 24 hours postpartum.
Results: The majority of the study sample (74.8%) had regular ANC visits while only (25.2%) had <4 antenatal visits. Financial problems (44.6%) or lack of awareness about the importance of ANC (20%) were the most common reasons for irregular ANC visits. The incidence of preeclampsia and eclampsia is significantly higher in the irregular attendants (p=0.000). Similarly, preterm birth, stillbirth and low birth weight were significantly more common among irregular attendants (p=0000).
Conclusion: Women with irregular antenatal care attendance are much more prone to pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, eclampsia and anemia besides higher adverse birth outcomes including preterm birth, low birth weight and stillbirth.
Antenatal care, primipara, perinatal outcome, maternal morbidity
The authors report no conflict of interest.
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