An exploration of the reasons for late presentation of pregnant women for antenatal care in Worcester, Cape Winelands District
van Zyl, Tharine
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Background: Antenatal Care (ANC) is a key strategy in achieving positive maternal health outcomes. ANC is an important entry point into formal health care services. ANC is very low in cost and among the most effective packages to promote and establish good health before childbirth and the early postnatal period; therefore, it is very feasible for the good results it is proven to have on maternal and child health. South Africa has had free ANC services since 1994. Despite these free services a lot of women still attend the ANC clinics late or do not attend follow-up visits, hindering the quality of care during pregnancy. The first ANC visit should be in the first trimester of pregnancy or as early as possible, because with the first visit underlying conditions must be identified and managed to promote maternal and foetal health. ANC initiation after 20 weeks may increase maternal, foetal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. In the Cape Winelands there are still 27.3% of women that attend ANC after 20 weeks gestation. This may hinder the quality of care during pregnancy and may lead to negative health outcomes for mother and or baby. The purpose of the study is to understand why some women still do not attend ANC before 20 weeks gestation even when it is available.