A survey of 363 rural women in the Western Cape of South Africa found a significant association between the presence of the father in the mother’s life and her attendance at antenatal clinics. If the father is present, the mother is three times more likely to register with the service in good time and to attend a sufficient number of clinics.
The positive association is less if the father has little education, is not employed or has a poor relationship with the mother.
The researchers conclude:
“Maternal health in many low resource countries including South Africa is still viewed as a woman’s issue due to socially constructed gender roles and men are generally not actively involved in reproductive health issues. The findings of this study indicate that having the father of the child present in the woman’s life during pregnancy increases the odds of frequent ANC attendance three fold and highlights a need to involve male partners in reproductive health issues including family planning and maternal health care.”
Huhwava LS, Morojele N & London L (2016), Psychosocial factors associated with early initiation and frequency of antenatal care (ANC) visits in a rural and urban setting in South Africa: a cross-sectional survey, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 16
Photo: Christina. Creative Commons.