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Int J Qual Health Care. 2007 Aug;19(4):244-9. Epub 2007 Jun 14.

Obstetric care practice in Birbhum District, West Bengal, India.

Author information

  • 1Sociological Research Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, 203 B.T. Road, Kolkata 700108, India.

Erratum in

  • Int J Qual Health Care. 2007 Oct;19(5):327.



The study area is the Birbhum district of the State of West Bengal in India. It is one of the backward districts in India.


The paper investigates the existing pattern of obstetric health care practices and the factors associated with the utilization of such care.


The present analysis includes 495 adult married women of both rural and urban areas of nine Blocks of Birbhum district. Besides performing chi2 tests to see the association of the relevant individual and household characteristics, logistic regression was also carried out to measure the effect of these characteristics on the use of obstetric health care.


In Birbhum district of West Bengal 65 percent mothers go to doctors for antenatal check-up during their pregnancy, but only 26 percent mothers deliver their babies in institutions and 30 percent mothers get the help of professional health assistants during delivery. Educated women have emphasized role in the practice of obstetric health care. Husband's education and the standard of living of the family also have some effect on the practice of antenatal check up, place of delivery and assistance of health professional. While most of the family background variables have significant effect on the practice of antenatal check up, these variables do not have much effect on the choice of delivery or seeking assistance of health professionals. Contrary to the popular belief the working status of women does not have favourable influence on the obstetric health care practices. In developing countries like India, it is the poverty, which compels the women to take jobs-that too in low paid jobs especially in rural backward areas.


The status of literacy of mothers and standard of living of the family are of prime importance in improving the obstetric health care practices.

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