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Etedafe P. Gharoro, A. A. Igbafe
Med Sci Monit 2000; 6(3): CR519-522
BACKGROUND: The first (booking) visit is a very important component ofantenatal care as service providers use the occasion to collect basic medical information that will formthe basis to care for the patient throughout pregnancy. The study was undertaken to establish the socio-demographiccharacteristics of the patients booking at the UBTH, and determine areas where changes could be madeto improve service uptake. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Between the months of February and August 1998, 378consecutive pregnant women initiating antenatal care were interviewed using a structured questionnaire.RESULTS: The majorities (52.1%) of the patients were middle class, while 87.5% have a secondary or tertiaryeducation. The mean age of the mothers was 29.7 years, and a mean parity of 1.3. Primigravidae constituted32.0% of the patients; the number of mothers booking declined with increasing parity. The mean gestationalage at booking was 23.7 weeks. The sixth month was the peak period for the initiation of antenatal care.The decision to attend UBTH for antenatal care was taken by the husband alone in 52% of the cases. Latebooking because of ignorance and financial constraints was observed in 41.5% and 25% of the patientsrespectively. CONCLUSION: Patients attending UBTH are educated and of low parity. Initiation of antenatalcare is late due to ignorance and financial constraints. Male dominance influences patients' adequateutilisation of antenatal services. Provision for the expectant fathers to attend maternity care activitieswill improve service uptake.