Global Health Observatory (GHO)

Antenatal care (at least 4 visits)


Many health problems in pregnant women can be prevented, detected and treated during antenatal care visits with trained health workers. WHO recommends a minimum of four antenatal visits, comprising interventions such as tetanus toxoid vaccination, screening and treatment for infections, and identification of warning signs during pregnancy. Globally, during the period 2000–2008, fewer than half of pregnant women received the recommended minimum four visits although 78% had at least one visit. In low-income countries, only 39% of pregnant women received four or more antenatal visits during 2000–2008. In urban areas of Africa, Americas and Asia richer urban women are more likely to have access to antenatal care than poorer women. For example, in Africa, only 47% of the urban poorest 20% women have access to antenatal care compared to 79% for the richest 20% women, on average.


There is some improvement in access to antenatal care for urban women in Americas and Asia. For example, access to antenatal care has increased for poorest 20% urban women in the Americas from 46% in 1990-99 to 67% in 2000–2007. However, access has not improved in the time period 2000–2007 for the poorest 20% urban women in Africa compared to the previous decade, 1990–1999.


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