oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Booked and unbooked mothers delivering at Harare Maternity Hospital, Zimbabwe: a comparison of maternal characteristics and foetal outcome

Volume 38, Issue 10
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



This study was prompted by the poor maternal and foetal outcome at Harare Maternity Hospital, Zimbabwe, in unbooked mothers compared to women who had booked for antenatal care. Comparison was made of 195 recently delivered unbooked mothers with 196 booked mothers. Unbooked mothers were significantly more likely to be younger, of lower parity, be single, have lower socio-economic status, live in or migrate from rural areas, be uneducated and have an unwanted pregnancy. Their infants were significantly more likely to pre-term and/or of low birth weight and had a higher perinatal mortality. The major reasons cited by the women for not booking were lack of money and delivery occurring before the intended time of booking. Discussion focuses on how to improve outcome in unbooked mothers. It is concluded that unbooked mothers constitute a high risk group which should be targeted for antenatal care and early booking. Concern is expressed that the universal introduction of user charges for maternity care under the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP) will further deter this high risk group from the uptake of antenatal care.

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