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Gestational age at first antenatal visit in Namibia
Authors: Thogarapalli N, Mkandawire P, Kangmennaang J, Luginaah I, and Arku G
Source: International Journal of Public Health, 61(9):1089-1097; DOI: 10.1007/s00038-016-0885-x
Topic(s): Antenatal care
Maternal health
Country: Africa
  Namibia
Published: DEC 2016
Abstract: OBJECTIVES: To examine the relationship between pregnancy intention and gestational age at first antenatal visit in Namibia. METHODS: This study uses secondary data from the 2013 Namibia Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS). Log-normal survival models are used to examine the independent effect of pregnancy intention on gestational age at first antenatal visit while controlling for relevant sociodemographic and socioeconomic covariates. RESULTS: This study finds that those who indicated unwanted pregnancies were significantly more likely to delay initiating antenatal care (ANC). Other variables also associated with gestational age at first antenatal visit include contact with a health worker, health insurance, media exposure to safe motherhood messages, birth order, relationship with head of household, maternal education, and urban residence. CONCLUSIONS: Timely ANC is necessary to identify and mitigate risk factors in pregnancy but many mothers in Namibia do not receive such care. Reducing unwanted pregnancies through family planning may limit ANC delays. After unwanted pregnancies occur, women may benefit from further education and resources that empower them to pursue ANC promptly. KEYWORDS: Antenatal care; Focused antenatal care; Maternal health; Namibia; Pregnancy intention; Timely care