NURSES AND MIDWIVES ARE TOP PRENATAL CARE PROVIDERS (Results from the 2000 Maternal and Child Health Survey)

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Release Date: 

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

More than 90 percent of women 15 to 49 years of age with children below 3 years old received pre-natal care during pregnancy with their youngest surviving child. Nurses and midwives (49.9%) were the top pre-natal care providers in year 2000, followed closely by doctors (45.5%). Meanwhile, one out of 22 women (4.4%) consulted a hilot or traditional birth attendant for pre-natal care. In urban areas, more women consulted doctors than nurses and midwives for pre-natal care (60.8% versus 36.4%). In comparison, out of ten rural women, six consulted nurses/midwives compared to only three who went to doctors for pre-natal check-up.

The maternal care program in the Philippines recommends at least four pre-natal care visits during pregnancy. Sixty five percent of women who received pre-natal care had four or more pre-natal care visits during pregnancy. A larger proportion of urban women than rural women met the required minimum number of 4 visits (73.4% for urban women versus 57.3% for rural women).

Iron tablets/capsules and iodine capsules are given to pregnant women to prevent anemia and goiter, respectively. Anemia can cause low birth weight while goiter can cause mental retardation, speech impairment, deaf mutism, squint locomotor problems and physical deformities in the baby. Goiter during pregnancy can also lead to stillbirths or miscarriage. Based on the 2000 MCHS, 60.3 percent of women received iodine capsules and 78.5 percent took iron tablet/capsule during pregnancy of their youngest surviving child. Generally, a higher percentage of women living in urban areas than those in rural areas took iron and iodine supplements during pregnancy.

Postnatal care services aims to promote proper care of infants, and prevent maternal and infant morbidity. Six in ten women (60.0%) with surviving children below 3 years old consulted anyone for postnatal care. Approximately half (51.7%) of those who had postnatal care check-ups consulted a doctor, more than one-third (37.1%) went to a nurse/midwife and about one in every ten (10.8%) went to a hilot/traditional birth attendant. Nurses/midwives remained the most common postnatal care providers in the rural areas (48.0%). In urban areas, doctors were the leading postnatal care providers (66.9%). During postnatal care visits, check-up of baby was the most frequently provided service while internal examination was the least frequently administered.

These are findings from the results of the 2000 Maternal and Child Health Survey (MCHS) conducted by the National Statistics Office with funding assistance from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The 2000 MCHS was a rider to the April 2000 Labor Force Survey (LFS). A total of 9,237 female members aged 15 to 49 years of the LFS sample households who have surviving children below three years old were interviewed for the 2000 MCHS.