Gestational age at initiation of antenatal care in a tertiary hospital, Southwestern Nigeria
Context: Antenatal care utilization has been shown to be associated with reduction in maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality while early initiation provides an opportunity for optimum utilization of this care with improved maternal and fetal outcomes.
Aim: This study seeks to determine the time of initiation of antenatal care among pregnant women and possible factors influencing such timing.
Setting: A cross‑sectional study involving 530 pregnant women was carried out at the booking clinic of the Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado‑Ekiti, between September 03, 2013, and March 04, 2014.
Subjects and Methods: A pretested questionnaire was administered to them to obtain information on their sociodemographic characteristics and factors influencing their timing of antenatal care initiation.
Results: The prevalence of early booking in this study was 22.7%, and the mean gestational age at booking was 21.09 ± 6.98 weeks. The age, parity, and occupation of the women and counseling on early booking were significantly associated with early booking among the respondents with P value of 0.010, 0.006, 0.011, and 0.009, respectively while on logistic regression, the occupation of women was the only significant association with early antenatal care initiation (adjusted odd ratio 0.388; confidence interval 0.212–0.710; P = 0.002). Complications experienced in previous pregnancies did not predict early initiation of care. More than half of the respondents (50.9%) gave early monitoring of their pregnancy as the reason for initiating the care.
Conclusion: Late initiation of antenatal care is still prevalent in our environment. Therefore, pregnant women should be adequately informed about the concept of early antenatal registration.
Keywords: Antenatal care, gestational age, initiation, Nigeria, Southwestern