Effect of Complete Antenatal Care on Birth Weight of Children in India: Evidence from National Family Health Survey (NFHS) Data
Keywords:Nutrition; Breastfeeding; Healthcare; Malnutrition; Pregnancy; Antenatal care
Prenatal care consists of counseling, medical care and supplementary nutrition. As per WHO guidelines are concerned then all the pregnant women are expected to visit four times to health care staff, hospitals and get the counseling, medical care and supplementary food. We have used National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-1, 2, and 3 data and analyzed such data in STATA@10 software. We found that, lower access to health care facilities; education and poverty, religion and caste background do not support the pregnant women to have minimum four required prenatal visits. The multi-nominal logic regression result shows that poor, illiterate, lower age group, Scheduled caste and Tribe pregnant women do not get the minimum required prenatal care. Such variables are positively correlated and statistically significant with low birth weight babies in India. India has high infant, child mortality, malnutrition and morbidity. Adequate prenatal visits by all pregnant women will certainly reduce the incidence of mortality, illness and malnutrition in country. Government must broadcast prenatal related programs on television and radio. Government must open up more sub centers in villages and in urban areas. Government must promote private clinics/hospitals to provide prenatal care especially to poor pregnant women. Such efforts will certainly improve health status of women and children and reduce the prevalence of child malnutrition, morbidity and mortality in India.