The role of mothers-in-law in antenatal care decision-making in Nepal: a qualitative study.

Simkhada, B., Porter, M. and van Teijlingen, E., 2010. The role of mothers-in-law in antenatal care decision-making in Nepal: a qualitative study. BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth, 10 (34).

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DOI: 10.1186/1471-2393-10-34

Abstract

Background Antenatal care (ANC) has been recognised as a way to improve health outcomes for pregnant women and their babies. However, only 29% of pregnant women receive the recommended four antenatal visits in Nepal but reasons for such low utilisation are poorly understood. As in many countries of South Asia, mothers-in-law play a crucial role in the decisions around accessing health care facilities and providers. This paper aims to explore the mother-in-law’s role in (a) her daughter-in-law’s ANC uptake; and (b) the decision-making process about using ANC services in Nepal. Methods In-depth interviews were conducted with 30 purposively selected antenatal or postnatal mothers (half users, half non-users of ANC), 10 husbands and 10 mothers-in-law in two different (urban and rural) communities. Results Our findings suggest that mothers-in-law sometime have a positive influence, for example when encouraging women to seek ANC, but more often it is negative. Like many rural women of their generation, all mothers-in-law in this study were illiterate and most had not used ANC themselves. The main factors leading mothers-in-law not to support/ encourage ANC check ups were expectations regarding pregnant women fulfilling their household duties, perceptions that ANC was not beneficial based largely on their own past experiences, the scarcity of resources under their control and power relations between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. Individual knowledge and social class of the mothers-in-law of users and non-users differed significantly, which is likely to have had an effect on their perceptions of the benefits of ANC. Conclusion Mothers-in-law have a strong influence on the uptake of ANC in Nepal. Understanding their role is important if we are to design and target effective community-based health promotion interventions. Health promotion and educational interventions to improve the use of ANC should target women, husbands and family members, particularly mothers-in-law where they control access to family resources.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:1471-2393
Uncontrolled Keywords:Nepal, South Asia, maternity care, family, control, power, decision-making
Subjects:Social Sciences > Sociology
Technology > Medicine and Health
Group:School of Health and Social Care > Centre for Midwifery, Maternal and Perinatal Health
ID Code:15792
Deposited By:Prof Edwin van Teijlingen
Deposited On:22 Jul 2010 15:05
Last Modified:07 Mar 2013 15:35

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