Background: Perinatal care is important to improve the outcome of the pregnancy and reduce associated morbidity and/or mortality to the pregnant mother and the developing fetus. Ideally, preconception counseling and preparedness for conception are necessary for an optimal pregnancy outcome. But this is not practiced by everyone due to various reasons. In such a scenario, an early antenatal visit will provide an opportunity for early screening and prepare a plan of care that will result in a better outcome of the pregnancy. In many countries, pregnant women still start their first antenatal visit late. Hence this study aims to determine the mean gestational age at booking, the magnitude and the factors associated with late booking for antenatal care in a tertiary care referral hospital.
Objectives: (1) To assess the gestational age of booking for antenatal care in a tertiary referral healthcare facility. (2) To assess the prevalence of late booking and factors contributing to it.
Materials and methods: This is a prospective study conducted on pregnant women visiting the outpatient Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department at Saveetha Medical College and Hospital from February 2020 to July 2020. A total of 203 pregnant mothers, who consented to the study, were interviewed at the antenatal clinic by using a structured questionnaire. The data was compiled and assessed using Microsoft Excel. The mean gestational age at booking and prevalence of late booking visit and their causes are assessed. Bivariate and multivariate data analysis was performed using Statistical Software for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for Windows version 16.0.
Result: This study showed that 203 pregnant women who participated in the study were between 19 and 40 years of age. A total of 121 patients were nulliparous, and 82 were multiparous. The mean gestational age at booking was found to be approximately 11 weeks of gestation in the study group. Around 83 were late for their booking visit (40.89%). Lack of knowledge of early booking and its benefits was the most common cause of increased gestational age at the first antenatal visit (28.92%). The recent COVID-19 outbreak this year has caused a delay in the booking of 12 patients (14.46%).
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