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Determinants of antenatal care visits and their impact on the choice of birthplace among mothers in Uganda: a systematic review

Obstetrics & Gynecology International Journal
Shallon Atuhaire,JF Mugisha2

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Objective: The utilization of Antenatal Care (ANC) services to the recommended time by WHO is still low in developing countries. In Uganda, about 990,000 women become pregnant annually, 90 to 94% of whom attend at least the first ANC visit while 65% and 58% of them attend four or more times in urban and rural areas respectively with eventual health facility birth at about 62%, homebirth and TBA together at about 38%. The study determined antenatal care attendance and the mother’s choice of birthplace in Uganda.

Materials and methods: Using electronic databases mainly Google Scholar, Science Direct, PubMed and African Journals Online, and journal articles of international Website, 70,195 articles were identified but only 19 met the Cochrane review inclusion criteria hence were reviewed.

Results: Reviewed studies attribute a decline in antenatal care visits and subsequent choice of birthplace to institutional, demographic and socio-economic factors. The demographic factors are maternal age (mothers less than eighteen years are less likely to utilize maternal health services than those above), marital status, occupation, residency, distance from home to the health facility, and parity. The socio-economic factors are mothers’ and partners’ levels of education (less educated women and their partners are less likely to utilize ANC), household income which affects transportation and medical bills, cultural norms and taboos, patriarchy society, enrollment on ANC in the third trimester, and intrinsic factors of attending ANC such as obtaining ANC card to present in case of emergency. Institutional factors include quality of medical care, availability of logistics and supplies, and health workers’ influence in terms of attitude, referral, competences, and staffing.

Conclusion: Pregnant women who attend ANC are more likely to deliver in the health facility than those who do not at all. To enable them to attend ANC to full term and have a health facility delivery, their empowerment for increased self-efficacy through education, sustainable livelihood training and provision of subsidized capital alongside partner involvement. The facilitation of health facilities would also attract them.


Antenatal care, Childbirth, Child health, Choice of the birthplace, Maternal health, Women’s health, Focused antenatal care, Human immunodeficiency virus, Safe motherhood initiative, Sustainable development goals, World health organisation, Maternal mortality, Birth, Obstetric fistula