Pregnancy is a time when women's health is placed at risk by a host of factors; however, professionals providing antenatal care can reduce that risk by monitoring women's health regularly and offering preventive services. Hygienic delivery services by a qualified attendant also help to reduce risks associated with childbearing. We explored these considerations in a rural Nigerian town by following 60 Yoruba women through pregnancy to childbirth. Although a functioning government maternity center in the community offered a full range of antenatal and delivery services, most of the women did not register for antenatal care until their sixth month of pregnancy or later, and 65% delivered at home. This behavior is explained in terms of (a) fees for delivery services, (b) level of income, (c) cultural beliefs, and (d) education. We conclude that provision of relatively accessible services does not guarantee their use and that other social and cultural considerations must be taken into account.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Health Professions