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Why do women attend late for antenatal booking? a qualitative interview study exploring the perspectives of service users and stakeholders. part 1: the service users

Hadrill, R.; Jones, G.L.; Mitchell, C.; Anumba, D.O.C.


G.L. Jones

C. Mitchell

D.O.C. Anumba


Introduction: Delayed access to antenatal care (“late booking”) is linked to increased mortality and morbidity for mother and baby: 17% of recent direct and indirect maternal deaths were women who booked for care after 22 weeks; had missed >4 routine antenatal visits or did not seek care at all. We interviewed a cohort of late-booking pregnant women to explore the reasons for delayed access, and their attitudes/expectations towards antenatal care.

Method: We purposively sampled women booking >19 weeks gestation from hospital and community antenatal clinics. We conducted semi-structured, face-to-face, taped individual interviews in women's homes, hospital clinics and children's centres. Data was transcribed, coded and organised using NVivo software, conducting an inductive, iterative, thematic analysis with independent verification.

Results: 27/80 women consented to interview. Participant demographics showed greater diversity (age, parity, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity) than ‘typical’ late booking patients reported elsewhere. Three key groups were identified, with explanatory subthemes, relating to personal attitudes and behaviors, knowledge and experience, and professional and organisational factors: 1) the ‘not knowers’: ‘not realisers’ (absence of classic symptoms, misinterpreters); ‘not believers’ (age, subfertility, using contraception, lay hindrance); 2) the ‘knowers’: the ‘avoiders’ (ambivalence, fear, DIY care); the ‘postponers’ (fearful, on the move, undecided, not valuing antenatal care, DIY care); 3) The ‘delayees’ (professional and system failures, knowledge and empowerment issues).

Conclusion: In the largest UK qualitative study to date we have identified service-user and healthcare factors for late booking which should inform service configuration to mitigate social exclusion and minimise adverse outcomes.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Apr 18, 2012
Publication Date 2012-04
Deposit Date Mar 21, 2022
Journal Archives of Disease in Childhood - Fetal and Neonatal Edition
Print ISSN 1359-2998
Electronic ISSN 1468-2052
Publisher BMJ Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 97
Issue Suppl 1
Pages A113.3-A113
Public URL