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Impact of Prenatal Care on Infant Survival in Bangladesh

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Despite improvements in public health in recent decades, levels of infant and child mortality remain unacceptably high, particularly in developing countries where primary healthcare services including prenatal care services are not universally available. Using information on 7,001 childbirths in five years preceding the 2004 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey, this study examined the relationship between receiving prenatal care during pregnancy and infant mortality using multivariate survival analysis. The results are presented in hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). Results indicate that children of mothers who did not receive prenatal care during pregnancy were more than twice as likely to die during infancy as children whose mothers received prenatal care during pregnancy (HR=2.40, 95% CI: 1.74, 3.31) independent of child's sex, delivery assistance, birth order; mother's age at child birth, nutritional status, education level; household living conditions, and other factors. Children born to older mothers living in households without safe drinking water were at an increased risk. The study concludes that prenatal care is strongly negatively associated with infant mortality in Bangladesh independent of other risk factors. The results suggest that improving prenatal care services at the community level is key to improving child survival in Bangladesh.

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Correspondence to Rathavuth Hong.

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Informed consent : This study is based on an analysis of existing survey data with all identifier information removed. The survey acquired informed consent from mothers of the children included in this study before asking any questions and before obtaining anthropometric measurements.

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Hong, R., Ruiz-Beltran, M. Impact of Prenatal Care on Infant Survival in Bangladesh. Matern Child Health J 11, 199–206 (2007).

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