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Soc Sci Med. 2013 Sep;93:1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.06.003. Epub 2013 Jun 14.

Women's autonomy and husbands' involvement in maternal health care in Nepal.

Author information

1
Karnali College of Health Sciences, Kathmandu, Purbanchal University, Nepal. thapa.deepen@gmail.com

Abstract

Both increasing women's autonomy and increasing husbands' involvement in maternal health care are promising strategies to enhance maternal health care utilization. However, these two may be at odds with each other insofar as autonomous women may not seek their husband's involvement, and involved husbands may limit women's autonomy. This study assessed the relationship between women's autonomy and husbands' involvement in maternal health care. Field work for this study was carried out during September-November 2011 in the Kailali district of Nepal. In-depth interviews and focus group discussions were used to investigate the extent of husbands' involvement in maternal health care. A survey was carried out among 341 randomly selected women who delivered a live baby within one year prior to the survey. The results show that husbands were involved in giving advice, supporting to reduce the household work burden, and making financial and transportation arrangements for the delivery. After adjustment for other covariates, economic autonomy was associated with lower likelihood of discussion with husband during pregnancy, while domestic decision-making autonomy was associated with both lower likelihood of discussion with husband during pregnancy and the husband's presence at antenatal care (ANC) visits. Movement autonomy was associated with lower likelihood of the husband's presence at ANC visits. Intra-spousal communication was associated with higher likelihood of discussing health with the husband during pregnancy, birth preparedness, and the husbands' presence at the health facility delivery. The magnitude and direction of association varied per autonomy dimension. These findings suggest that programs to improve the women's autonomy and at the same time increase the husband's involvement should be carefully planned. Despite the traditional cultural beliefs that go against the involvement of husbands, Nepalese husbands are increasingly entering into the area of maternal health which was traditionally considered 'women's business'.

KEYWORDS:

Husbands' involvement; Maternal health; Nepal; Women's autonomy

PMID:
23906115
DOI:
10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.06.003
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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