Maternal and infant mortality remains high in Nigeria primarily due to low use of skilled birth attendants. Huge disparities exist between southern and northen Nigeria on use of skilled birth attendants with south significantly higher than the north. We assessed the effect of centering pregnancy group (CPG) antenatal care on the uptake of antenatal care (ANC), facility delivery and immunization rates for infants in Kano state.
Between December 2012 and May 2014, pregnant women with similar sociodemographics and obstetric history were enrolled into intervention (CPG) and control groups and followed up prospectively. Chi-square tests were conducted to compare the differences between the intervention and the control groups with respect to background characteristics and intervention outcomes. Logistic regression was used to measure the associations between CPG and uptake of services for mother-baby pairs in care.
A total of 517 (260 in the control group and 257 in the CPG) pregnant women enrolled and participated in the study. Thirty-six percent of women in the control group attended ANC at least once in 2nd and 3nd trimester compared to 49% of respondents in the CPG (p < 0.01). Health facility delivery was higher among CPG (13% vs. 8%; p < 0.01). When controlled for age, number of previous pregnancies, number of term deliveries, number of children alive and occupation of respondent or their spouses, respondents who participated in the CPGs compared to those who did not, were more likely to attend at least one antenatal care (ANC) session in the third trimester [adjusted risk ratio (ARR):1.52; 95% CI:1.36–1.69], more likely to immunize their babies at six weeks [ARR: 2.23; 95% CI: 1.16–4.29] and fourteen weeks [ARR: 3.46; 95% CI: 1.19–10.01] and more likely to use health services [ARR: 1.50; 95% CI: 1.06–2.13].
Centering or group pregnancy showed a positive effect on the use of antenatal services, facility delivery and postnatal services and thus is a promising intervention to increase uptake of maternal health care services in northern Nigeria. The low facility delivery remains a cause for alarm and requires further investigation to improve facility delivery in northern Nigeria.