Does involving male partners in antenatal care improve healthcare utilisation? Systematic review and meta-analysis of the published literature from low- and middle-income countries

Dedih Suandi (Corresponding Author), Pauline Williams, Sohinee Bhattacharya

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberihz073
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Health
Early online date15 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019



  • antenatal care
  • developing countries
  • male partner involvement
  • maternal health
  • newborn health
  • women's health

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