Health care during pregnancy and childbirth: results of two cross-sectional surveys in poor areas of North and Northeast Brazil

Maria Aurora D. Chrestani Iná S. Santos Juraci A. Cesar Leonardo S. Winckler Tatiane S. Gonçalves Nelson A. Neumann

In 2002 and 2005, two surveys were conducted in poor areas of North and Northeast Brazil to evaluate prenatal care received by mothers of children under five years old. The study covered 1,528 and 1,529 children in 2002 and 2005, respectively. In this three-year period, maternal schooling and monthly family income increased by 1.5 years and US$ 50.00, respectively, availability of safe drinking water increased from 23% to 41%, the proportion of pregnant woman with six or more prenatal visits increased from 42% to 52%, and immunization against neonatal tetanus increased from 54% to 77%. Coverage of uterine height evaluation increased from 54% to 77%. Testing for HIV and syphilis virtually doubled, from 8% to 16%. Meanwhile, gynecological examinations dropped from 41% to 31% and counseling for breastfeeding decreased from 66% to 55%. Despite improvements, the study's results show that the target indicators in these areas fall short of those in more developed regions of Brazil. Efforts should be made to reduce this gap.

Delivery of Health Care; Pregnancy; Parturition; Maternal and Child Health

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