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Male participation in antenatal care and its influence on their pregnant partners’ reproductive health care utilization: insight from the 2015 Afghanistan Demographic and Health Survey
Authors: Sharifullah Alemi, Keiko Nakamura, Mosiur Rahman, and Kaoruko Seino
Source: Journal of Biosocial Science, Published online; DOI: 10.1017/S0021932020000292
Topic(s): Antenatal care
Health care utilization
Maternal health
Country: Asia
Published: JUN 2020
Abstract: Afghanistan has made remarkable progress in reducing maternal mortality over the past few decades, and male participation in their pregnant partner’s reproductive health care is crucial for further improvement. This study aimed to examine whether male attendance at antenatal care (ANC) with their pregnant partners might be beneficially associated with the degree of utilization of reproductive health care by the pregnant partners. Data for 2660 couples (women aged 16–49 years) were taken from the 2015 Afghanistan Demographic and Health Survey (AfDHS). Bivariate and multivariate logistic regression models were employed to explore the association between male attendance at ANC with their pregnant partners and reproductive health care utilization outcomes, including adequate utilization (four or more visits) of ANC services, ANC visits during the first trimester (up to 12 weeks) of pregnancy, rate of blood and urine testing during pregnancy, rate of institutional delivery and utilization of postnatal check-up services. The results indicated that the rate of male attendance at ANC with their pregnant partners was 69.4%. After controlling for covariates, pregnant partners who were accompanied to ANC by their male partners were more likely to adequately utilize ANC services (AOR=1.42; 95% CI: 1.18–1.71), commence ANC visits even during the first trimester (AOR=1.21; 95% CI: 1.03–1.42), give birth at a health facility (AOR=1.23; 95% CI: 1.03–1.47) and present themselves for postnatal check-ups (AOR=1.24; 95% CI: 1.04–1.47) than those who were not accompanied by them. The study demonstrated that participation of male partners in ANC was positively associated with their pregnant partners’ utilization of reproductive health care services in Afghanistan. The findings suggest that, to improve maternal and child health outcomes in the country, it would be worthwhile implementing interventions to encourage male partners to become more engaged in the ANC of their pregnant partners.