BACKGROUND: Intimate partner violence (IPV) during pregnancy has negative physical and psychological health consequences on the pregnant women. As such, women who experience IPV during pregnancy are likely to have challenges accessing maternal healthcare services. In this study, we examined the influence of exposure to IPV on timely antenatal care (ANC) visits in sub-Saharan Africa.
METHODS: Cross-sectional data from the most recent Demographic and Health Survey of twenty-two countries in sub-Saharan Africa between 2012 and 2020 were analysed. Data were obtained from 61,282 women with birth history in the five years prior to the survey. A multilevel logistic regression was used to determine the association between IPV and timely ANC visits while controlling for significant covariates. Adjusted odds ratios (aOR) with 95% Confidence Intervals (CI) were used to present results from the multilevel logistic regression analysis.
RESULTS: The prevalence of timely ANC visit and IPV were 38.1% and 34.9% respectively. The highest and lowest prevalence of IPV were found in Sierra Leone (52.9%) and Comoros (8.1%), respectively. Timely ANC attendance among pregnant women was more prevalent in Liberia (74.9%) and lowest in DR Congo (19.0%). Women who experienced IPV during pregnancy were less likely to utilize timely ANC (aOR = 0.89, 95% CI = 0.86-0.92) compared to those who did not experience IPV. In terms of the covariates, the odds of timely ANC were higher among women aged 40-44 compared to those aged 15-19 (aOR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.21-1.51). Higher odds of timely ANC was found among women who were cohabiting (aOR = 1.15, 95% CI = 1.10-1.20), those from the richest wealth quintile (aOR = 1.38, 95% CI = 1.28-1.48), those exposed to watching television (aOR = 1.24, 95% CI = 1.18-1.30), and those with health insurance (aOR = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.37-1.56).
CONCLUSION: Findings from the study indicate the role of IPV in timely ANC visit in sub-Saharan Africa. To enhance timely ANC visits, there is the need for policy makers to strengthen and enforce the implementation of policies that alleviate IPV during pregnancy. Education and sensitization of married and cohabiting women and men on the negative effects of IPV on timely ANC should be done using media sources such as television. Inequalities in timely ANC can be eliminated through the provision and strengthening of existing maternal health policies such as health insurance.
- Intimate partner violence
- Pregnant women
- Sub-Saharan Africa
- Timely antenatal care visits