Every pregnant woman faces a risk of life-threatening
obstetric complications. It is estimated that 398 women every year die in
Zambia from pregnancy related complications out of every 100,000 live births.
The primary cause of this high maternal mortality
is lack of access to professional delivery care. A birth-preparedness
package promotes active preparation and assists in decision-making for
healthcare seeking in case of such complications. Examining
the role of the family, particularly the husband, during pregnancy and
childbirth is important to understanding women’s access to and utilization of
professional maternal health services that can improve maternal health outcomes
and prevent maternal mortality. However, in Zambia, the relationship
between birth preparedness and decision-making on location of birth and
assistance by skilled birth attendants in regard to male involvement is one
subject that has not been studied. The purpose of this study was therefore to evaluate the impact of male partner involvement
in childbirth preparation and contribute to the prevailing board of evidence on
male involvement in addressing the high maternal mortality.
Methods: This paper was written through desk
review of key policy documents, technical reports, publications and available
internet-based literature. Primary analysis included studies from randomised
controlled trials (RCT) whilst secondary analysis involved studies of non-randomised
control trials, observational studies descriptive studies and key government
Results: The study established that women have
higher chances of delivering at the health facility and access skilled delivery
care if they consulted and made the decision with their spouses. The proportion of women making savings for birth
preparedness plan, including savings for emergencies and transport was very low
without male partner involvement whereas involvement of male partners in
ANC services increased the number of women attending antenatal care (ANC)
services and resulted into a higher likelihood of expectant mother receiving
not only skilled delivery services but also postpartum care.
Conclusion: This study
provides novel evidence about male involvement during childbirth. The findings
could have important implications for program planners, who should pursue all
avenues and ways to involve husbands (male partners) in maternal health
interventions and assess the effectiveness of education strategies targeted at
husbands. Therefore, it should be viewed
that examining the role of the spouses, during pregnancy and childbirth is
important to understanding women’s access to and utilization of professional
maternal health services that can prevent maternal mortality.
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