About 50% of women living in low to middle-income countries are not receiving adequate antenatal care. Researchers from the University of Central Lancashire recently published a qualitative study of various countries in the journal PLoS Medicine. The study attempted to find out why women failed to receive the antenatal care needed.

Researchers reviewed 21 studies on women and antenatal care. In all, responses from more than 1,200 women from 15 countries were included in the final report. The studies revealed that women in low to middle-income countries tended to have different core and cultural beliefs than those on which antenatal care regimes were based. Due to the disconnect between culture and patient, antenatal services were rarely used in some countries.

Conclusion: Programs developed for antenatal care need to be based on local cultural beliefs. It is especially important to review programs that require women to make long trips to receive care only to find care is not available upon arrival. Such personal risk can reduce the number of women seeking antenatal care.

Source: Finlayson K, Downe S. Why do women not use antenatal services in low- and middle-income countries? A meta-synthesis of qualitative studies. PLoS Med. 2013 Jan;10(1):e1001373. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001373. Epub 2013 Jan 22.