Impact of Male Partner Antenatal Accompaniment on Perinatal Health Outcomes in Developing Countries: A Systematic Literature Review

Abstract

Encouraging male partners to accompany women to antenatal care (ANC) is an important first step in engaging men on maternal and newborn health. However, little is known regarding the impact of male partner antenatal accompaniment beyond HIV-related perinatal outcomes. A systematic review was conducted to synthesize the evidence on the influence of male accompaniment on non-HIV outcomes during pregnancy and into the postpartum period. Eligible studies were published in English from 2003 to 2013 and evaluated the effect of male antenatal accompaniment on perinatal health in a developing country. Four electronic databases and selected reference lists were searched. Out of 84 potential citations retrieved, seven publications were retained for the assessment of male antenatal accompaniment’s influence using iterative thematic analysis. During pregnancy, male antenatal accompaniment positively impacted women’s knowledge of danger signs, but did not affect birth preparedness, ANC utilization, or miscarriages. During labor and delivery, men’s ANC presence was associated with increases in institutional delivery and skilled birth attendance, but with no effect for birth-related outcomes. During the early postnatal period, male antenatal accompaniment was associated with higher uptake of postnatal services, but with mixed effects on breastfeeding and newborn survival. Couples’ increased communication on pregnancy care and men’s subsequent motivation to ensure safe delivery may explain these observed benefits. Inadequate communication, late accompaniment, or partner type may explain the lack of influence on some outcomes. More efforts are needed to expand the implementation and evaluation of male involvement strategies to improve perinatal health.

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Fig. 1

Abbreviations

ANC:

Antenatal care

HIV:

Human immunodeficiency virus

PMTCT:

Prevention of mother-to-child transmission

SBA:

Skilled birth attendant

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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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Correspondence to Carolina Aguiar.

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Aguiar, C., Jennings, L. Impact of Male Partner Antenatal Accompaniment on Perinatal Health Outcomes in Developing Countries: A Systematic Literature Review. Matern Child Health J 19, 2012–2019 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-015-1713-2

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Keywords

  • Male involvement
  • Perinatal health
  • Maternal and newborn care
  • Antenatal care