Perceptions of pregnant women on reasons for late initiation of antenatal care in Nkwen Baptist Health Center, North West Region, Cameroon
Background: Antenatal care serves as a key entry point for a pregnant woman to receive a broad range of services and should be initiated at the onset of pregnancy (WHO, 2016). Cameroon has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world (UNICEF, 2016). The majority of pregnant women in Cameroon initiate antenatal care after the first trimester (Njim, 2016). Most studies on initiation of antenatal care in Cameroon have not explored in greater depth the reasons why most of the pregnant women initiate antenatal care late. Methodology: The aim of the study is to understand the reasons why pregnant women initiate antenatal care late in Nkwen Baptist Health Center, North West Region, Cameroon. It is an exploratory study and applied purposive sampling to recruit eighteen pregnant women and three key informants for data collection through individual interviews. Pregnant women who initiated antenatal care after the first trimester were recruited during antenatal care clinics and interviewed in a room at the antenatal care unit. Key informants were midwives working at the antennal care unit. Participation in the study was voluntary. Participants were explained the purpose of the study and signed a consent form if they were willing to participate in the research. Participation in the research did not inhibit the respondent’s access to care. Data was collected using an audio tape and analyzed using Thematic Coding Analysis (TCA) to identify recurring themes that emerged from the data to adequately describe the perceptions of respondents on the reasons for late initiation of antenatal care.