Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989
LUBBOCK, Lindsey Ann and STEPHENSON, Rob B.. Utilization of maternal health care services in the department of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2008, vol.24, n.2, pp.75-84. ISSN 1680-5348. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892008000800001.
OBJECTIVES: To better understand the individual and community factors and perceptions that influence women's health care-seeking behaviors during pregnancy in order to increase women's utilization of maternal health services. METHODS: This study investigates the logistical and sociocultural barriers influencing women's utilization of maternal health services through 37 semi-structured in-depth interviews with women from the department of Matagalpa, Nicaragua. RESULTS: Results reveal that delays in seeking health care during pregnancy are influenced not only by poor access to care and economic barriers but also by individual and community knowledge and acceptance of maternal health services. Partner support, previous maternal health care experiences, and the degree of communication with other women and health workers affect women's decisions to seek care. CONLUSIONS: Evidence suggests that in order to improve maternal health outcomes in this region, interventions must be targeted at a hierarchy of levels: individual, household, and community.
Keywords : Maternal mortality; maternal health services; Nicaragua.