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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Late entry to antenatal care in New South Wales, Australia

Lieu Thuy Thi Trinh* and George Rubin

Author Affiliations

Centre for Health Services Research, University of Sydney and Western Sydney Area Health Services, Level 3, Administration Block, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia

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Reproductive Health 2006, 3:8  doi:10.1186/1742-4755-3-8

Published: 18 August 2006

Abstract

Aims

This study aimed to assess the prevalence of women who entered antenatal care (ANC) late and to identify factors related to the late entry to ANC in New South Wales (NSW) in 2004.

Methods

The NSW Midwives Data Collection contained data of 85,034 women who gave birth in 2004. Data were downloaded using SAS and transferred to STATA 8.0. Entering ANC after 12 weeks of gestation was classified as late. The Andersen Health Seeking Behaviour Model was used for selection and analyses of related factors. Regression and hierarchical analyses were used to identify significant factors and their relative contributions to the variation of pregnancy duration at entry to ANC.

Results

41% of women commenced ANC after 12 weeks of gestation. Inequality existed between groups of women with predisposing characteristics and enabling resources contributed more to the variation in pregnancy duration at entry to ANC than needs. The groups of women with highest risk were teenagers, migrants from developing countries, women living in Western Sydney, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, women with three or more previous pregnancies and heavy smokers. The high risk groups with largest number of women were migrants from developing countries and women living in Western Sydney.

Conclusion

A large number of women in NSW entered ANC late in their pregnancies. Efforts to increase early entry to ANC should be targeted on identified high risk groups of women.