UCLan antenatal research

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Researchers at the University of Central Lancashire have examined why antenatal healthcare programmes, provided in low and middle-income countries, are having a limited impact on reducing death during pregnancy and childbirth.

The research, carried out by a team at UCLan looked at how more than 800 women die every day from complications during pregnancy and child birth and 99 per cent of these deaths occur in low-resource settings.

Despite efforts and focus on maternal and child health in low-income countries in recent years, less than half of pregnant women there attend the four antenatal visits recommended by the World Health Organisation.

To understand why antenatal programs are not more successful, UCLan’s Kenneth Finlayson and Professor Soo Downe reviewed studies concerning the views and experiences of women from low and middle-income countries who had received inadequate antenatal care.

Researchers found that programmes focused on pregnancy-associated risks to women’s health, while many women saw pregnancy as a healthy state which didn’t require the assistance of a doctor unless complications were experienced.

Extreme poverty and risks associated with travelling to a clinic were also factors.