Knowledge and involvement of husbands in maternal and newborn health in rural Bangladesh

Ahmed Ehsanur Rahman*, Janet Perkins, Sajia Islam, Abu Bakkar Siddique, Md Moinuddin, Mohammed Rashidul Anwar, Tapas Mazumder, Adnan Ansar, Mohammad Masudur Rahman, Shahreen Raihana, Cecilia Capello, Carlo Santarelli, Shams El Arifeen, Dewan Md Emdadul Hoque

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Access to skilled health services during pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal period for obstetric care is one of the strongest determinants of maternal and newborn health (MNH) outcomes. In many countries, husbands are key decision-makers in households, effectively determining women's access to health services. We examined husbands' knowledge and involvement regarding MNH issues in rural Bangladesh, and how their involvement is related to women receiving MNH services from trained providers. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey in two rural sub-districts of Bangladesh in 2014 adopting a stratified cluster sampling technique. Women with a recent birth history and their husbands were interviewed separately with a structured questionnaire. A total of 317 wife-husband dyads were interviewed. The associations between husbands accompanying their wives as explanatory variables and utilization of skilled services as outcome variables were assessed using multiple logistic regression analyses. Results: In terms of MNH knowledge, two-thirds of husbands were aware that women have special rights related to pregnancy and childbirth and one-quarter could mention three or more pregnancy-, birth- and postpartum-related danger signs. With regard to MNH practice, approximately three-quarters of husbands discussed birth preparedness and complication readiness with their wives. Only 12% and 21% were involved in identifying a potential blood donor and arranging transportation, respectively. Among women who attended antenatal care (ANC), 47% were accompanied by their husbands. Around half of the husbands were present at the birthplace during birth. Of the 22% women who received postpartum care (PNC), 67% were accompanied by their husbands. Husbands accompanying their wives was positively associated with women receiving ANC from a medically trained provider (AOR 4.5, p <.01), birth at a health facility (AOR 1.5, p <.05), receiving PNC from a medically trained provider (AOR 48.8, p <.01) and seeking care from medically trained providers for obstetric complications (AOR 3.0, p <0.5). Conclusion: Husbands accompanying women when receiving health services is positively correlated with women's use of skilled MNH services. Special initiatives should be taken for encouraging husbands to accompany their wives while availing MNH services. These initiatives should aim to increase men's awareness regarding MNH issues, but should not be limited to this.
Original languageEnglish
Article number247
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jun 2018
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2018


  • Antenatal care
  • Birth preparedness and complication readiness
  • Male involvement
  • Maternal and newborn health
  • Postnatal care
  • Skilled birth attendance


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