BACKGROUND: Although in most low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) men are decision makers and control the household budget, their involvement in maternity care is limited. Reports from high-income countries indicate a beneficial effect of involving men in antenatal and delivery care on birth outcomes.
METHODS: We conducted a systematic review to assess whether similar effects are observed in LMICs. We searched MEDLINE, PubMed, CINAHL, Embase, NCBI, PsycInfo and other relevant databases using a comprehensive search strategy to retrieve relevant articles. A total of 17 articles were included. Meta-analysis of extracted data was performed, using the generic inverse variance method where possible. All studies were conducted in South Asia and Africa.
RESULTS: We found that involving a male partner in antenatal care was associated with skilled birth attendance utilization (pooled OR 3.19 [95% CI 1.55 to 6.55]), having institutional delivery (OR 2.76 [95% CI 1.70 to 4.50]) and post-partum visit uptake (OR 2.13 [95% CI 1.45 to 3.13]). Mother's knowledge of danger signs and modern contraception utilization were also positively affected. However, it had no significant impact on the number of antenatal visits.
CONCLUSIONS: Male involvement in antenatal care had a positive impact on the uptake of maternal health services. Further research needs to investigate whether this translates into improved maternal and newborn health in developing countries.
- antenatal care
- developing countries
- male partner involvement
- maternal health
- newborn health
- women's health