ANC is a vital component of the reproductive, maternal, and neonatal health continuum. It helps identify and treat conditions associated with pregnancy, and helps minimize the risk of transmission of HIV from mother to child. Antenatal care is a gateway to health services for women and their families. The following information provides an overview of the process of receiving ANC. ANC providers must be equipped to address the complex needs of all pregnant women.
The frequency of ANC attendance varies greatly by geography and ethnicity. Women who experience multiple pregnancies are less likely to attend. Women who feel unwelcome during pregnancy and/or want to avoid a public delivery are less likely to use ANC services. Further, women who have been previously pregnant may prefer to deliver their babies at home, which may result in reduced ANC attendance. The availability of ANC services at the same time depends on a woman’s social network.
The department of OBGY recognized the importance of MN for improved maternal health and a successful pregnancy. Therefore, it implemented a four-step Point of Care Quality Improvement approach and implemented the MN protocol during ANC. The OBGY department created a Quality Improvement team comprised of department heads, faculty doctors, postgraduate residents, and interns. This team is now committed to improving the ANC process and supporting the team in achieving quality improvement.
Although ANC is an important part of pregnancy, many women find it difficult to come early for their first visit. Because they do not have paid leave or maternity benefits, attending ANC is often low on their list of priorities. Other women prefer to use traditional healing techniques. Unfortunately, these practices may misinterpret signs and symptoms of pregnancy, affecting the timing of the first visit to the ANC. Ultimately, it is the mother and her baby’s health that will ultimately decide when the ANC is the best place to go for care.
An ANC is a vital part of pregnancy, especially for women in developing countries. It can detect a variety of complications associated with pregnancy, and can screen for various chronic and non-communicable diseases. World Health Organization guidelines recommend 8 ANC visits during pregnancy. Some women may receive only one or two visits. This makes it crucial to have frequent ANC appointments. Moreover, the quality of care provided by ANC is variable and poorly measured.