Does antenatal care make a difference to safe delivery?
Evidence to support that antenatal screenings and interventions are effective in reducing maternal mortality has been scanty and studies have presented contradictory findings. In addition, antenatal care utilization is poorly characterized in studies. As an exposure under investigation, antenatal care should be well defined. However, measures typically only account for the frequency and timing of visits and not for care content. We introduce a new measure for antenatal care utilization, comprised of 20 input components covering care content and visit frequency. Weights for each component reflect its relative importance to better maternal and child health, and were derived from a survey of international researchers. This composite measure for antenatal care utilization was studied in a probability sample of 300 low to middle income women who had given birth within the last three years in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. Results showed that demarcating women’s antenatal care status based