Male involvement in antenatal and natal care practices of their partners – a community-based study in rural area of North Karnataka
Introduction: Male involvement, an all-encompassing term which refers to the various ways in which men relate to reproductive health problems and programmes, reproductive rights and reproductive behaviour.
Objective: To assess the level of male involvement in the antenatal and natal care practices of women residing in Gadag.
Methodology: A cross sectional study conducted in rural areas of Gadag. 100 Male partners of parous women formed the study group. They were interviewed regarding the reproductive profile of their partners and their level of knowledge and involvement in the Antenatal and natal health care utilisation. Perceptions regarding male involvement in reproductive health were also assessed.
Results: 81% male partner accompanied their wives for at least one antenatal visit. Only 41% were aware of the complications which can occur during pregnancy, anemia being the most commonly known complication. 50% confessed that they could not spend quality time with their partners during pregnancy due to work and other restrictions. With reference to the autonomy regarding decision making about vital events, the participants were given freedom only about the age of their marriage. Other decisions regarding use of family planning, antenatal care, newborn care, immunisation of child was taken by the elders in the family. Traditional male roles were cited as the most common reason for low male participation.
Conclusion: In addition to the benefits for women and children, male involvement has potential benefits for men. Thus, programmes should be implemented based on the understanding of gender dynamics, on how decisions are made and implemented, on the changing needs of both genders and their interaction.
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