Skip to main content
  • Research note
  • Open access
  • Published:

Timing of first focused antenatal care booking and associated factors among pregnant mothers who attend antenatal care in Central Zone, Tigray, Ethiopia



Focused antenatal care became the recommended type of antenatal care following the publication of a World Health Organization trial on antenatal care where it was discovered that the traditional antenatal care approach do not necessarily improve pregnancy out-come. This study was aimed to assess timing of first focused antenatal care booking and associated factors among pregnant mothers. Facility based cross sectional study was used in the randomly selected health facilities. Total 239 pregnant women who visited antenatal clinic were selected using simple random sampling technique and data were entered and analyzed using SPSS version 20.0 software.


The study shows that only 41% of pregnant mothers booked timely antenatal care and the median duration of pregnancy at the first visit was 5 months. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that gravidity and information received on correct time of antenatal care booking from health care provider were significantly associated with timely initiation of antenatal care. Late antenatal care booking remains high in the study area and this indicated that provide information, education and communication to create community awareness is remarkable and implementing community based discussion up to the local level will be crucial.


Regular ANC attendance is believed to guarantee healthier pregnancies and uneventful deliveries, and women who miss visits are considered at risk of poor pregnancy outcomes [1,2,3,4].

Every day, about 1500 women across the globe die because of complications during pregnancy or childbirth, and 98% of these deaths occur in developing countries. Sub-Saharan Africa leads this death toll, accounting for 50% of all maternal deaths worldwide [1,2,3]. This is one of the shameful failures of world’s development. Studies on risk factors of maternal mortality have shown that lack of antenatal care increases the risk of maternal mortality [5, 6].

The number and timing of ANC visits (early booking) is an appropriate time to create awareness on signs and symptoms of pregnancy complications may lead to timely access to appropriate emergency obstetric care [4,5,6,7].

More recent Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data illustrate that 16% of women started ANC in the first trimester in Nigeria (2008), 47% in Congo-Brazzaville (2005) and 55% in Ghana (2008) [8,9,10,11,12,13]. Moreover, DHS survey data indicate that in West Africa, 8 of 10 countries have illustrated increases, whereas, in Southern and East Africa, 6 of 11 countries have experienced declines [14].

Although there is limited evidence, late booking of antenatal care has been associated with young age, premarital status, unwanted pregnancies, high parity, and lack of formal education, low socioeconomic status, unintended pregnancy and ethnicity [10, 12,13,14]. While the benefits of ANC are most crucial for developing countries specially first visits by skilled providers is received by few pregnant women in those countries [15].

There are limited evidences on the time of antenatal care booking in Ethiopia which is the focus this study. Therefore, the aim of this study was to find out the prevalence of women who were booked at the recommended time and identify factors contributing for timely entry to ANC in Central Zone of Tigray regional state, Ethiopia.

Main text

Study area and period

This study was conducted in eight selected health centers of Central Zone of Tigray Regional State. According Tigray Regional Health Bureau 2007EFY health profile report 60.4% of births were attended by a skilled birth attendant; of which only 2.2% was clean and safe [2007EFY]. The study was conducted between January and June, 2015.

Study design

Institutional based cross sectional study design was employed.

Sample size

A total of 239 samples were calculated using a single population proportion formula by assuming 5% marginal error and 95% confidence interval (σ = 0.05) and prevalence of the timing of first Antenatal care booking 17% and by adding 10% of non-response rate.

Sampling procedure

All health centers found in Central Zone of Tigray that had been giving ANC service were included. Of which using simple random sampling technique 8 health centers were selected. The sample size was distributed in proportion to average monthly load of previous year of pregnant women who made first ANC follow up at each health center by using of formula population proportion sample.

Data collection instrument and techniques

A structured questionnaire was adopted and modified from different lecturers [9, 17, 24]. Two days training was given to all data collectors and supervisors prior to pretesting. Eight data collectors who had completed diploma in midwife were recruited.

Data processing and analysis

Data was entered and analyzed using SPSS version 22.0. Descriptive statistics was employed to calculate frequencies and display findings. Association was measured using binary logistic regression. Based on Bivariate analysis variables that showed significant association at (p < 0.2) were entered to multivariable analysis to select Predictor variables of factors affecting timing of first ANC booking. The final model was then tested for its goodness of fit by Hosmer and Lemeshow p value and p > 0.05 was best fit. Finally, variables that showed significant association at (p < 0.05) were identified as independent predictors of time of first ANC booking.

Ethical considerations

The Ethical approval was approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of College of Health Sciences, Aksum University. Communications with the health center administrations was made through a formal letter obtained from Aksum University, College of Heath Science and TRHB. The objective and importance of the study was explained to the study participants. Data was collected after full informed written consent was obtained from participants aged 18 years and more, but age less than 18 year from the guardian. Confidentiality of the information was maintained throughout by excluding names as identification in the questionnaire and keeping their privacy during the interview by interviewing them alone.

Socio demographic characteristics of women

Among pregnant women attending first ANC, 239 women were initiated to be included in this study. Two hundred twenty-eight (95.4%) women were responded to the interview while 11 (4.6%) did not respond. Mean age of the respondents was 28 ± 7.1 years (16–49). Majority, 152 (66.7%) of the respondents were aged 20–34 years and were mostly Tigrean of ethnic group, 223 (97.8%). Most, 156 (68.4%) had illiterate in educational background while majority, 227 (96.9%) were having no work in occupation. Only 60 (26.3%) of the respondents have greater than one thousand Ethiopian birr monthly family income (see Table 1).

Table 1 Socio-demographic characteristics of women who visited public health facilities in Central Zone, Tigray, Ethiopia/2015

Obstetric and reproductive history

Majority, 157 (68.9%) of the respondents were become pregnant before 19 years of age. 129 (56.6%) of participants were multiparous while the remaining 99 (43.4%) were primiparous women. Out of all respondents who gave birth before, 143 (78.6%) of them were delivered at home (see Table 2).

Table 2 Obstetric and reproductive history of pregnant women who visited public health facilities in Central Zone, Tigray, Ethiopia/2015

Time of first ANC booking

The study finding showed that 95 (41%) of women made their first ANC visit before the fourth month of pregnancy. Whereas the majority 133 (59%) of the respondents were booked late. The pattern of ANC booking ranged from 4 to 36 weeks of pregnancy, the peak being at 20th week of pregnancy. The median duration of pregnancy at the first visit is 5 months.

Factors affecting timely ANC booking

Bivariate and multivariate analyses were done to identify independent variables that show significant association with factors affecting timely booking for ANC for first visit. All variables which showed statistically significant association with p < 0.05 during the bivariate analysis were entered to multivariate analysis and significance was decided at p < 0.05 (see Table 3).

Table 3 Predictor variables of early ANC booking among mother who visited public health facilities in Central Zone, Tigray, Ethiopia/2015

In bivariate analysis, women’s whose husband/partner involved on timely booking, who were better achievement on health developmental army, previous birth experiences and information received on accurate time of booking for antenatal care showed statistically significant association. In multivariable analysis, previous birth experiences and information received on accurate time of booking for antenatal care showed statistically significant association on timely booking for first visit (see Table 3).

As indicate in Table 3, women previous birth experiences showed strong association with timely booking for antenatal care services. Accordingly women who were information received on accurate time of booking for antenatal care were 4.3 times more likely to book timely (with in 16 week of pregnancy) for first visit of antenatal care (AOR = 4.3, 95% CI 1.13–16.70).


Good care during pregnancy is important for the health of the mother and the development of the fetus. Pregnancy is a crucial time to promote healthy behavior and parenting skills. World Health Organization recommends that pregnant mothers, especially those who are living in developing countries shall start ANC booking in the first 4 months of pregnancy [1]. However, in this study ninety-five (41%) respondents made ANC booking during the recommended time.

The prevalence of timely booking for antenatal care in the current study is relatively higher than the mini Ethiopia demographic health survey 2014 revealed 17% [4], 29% pregnant mothers in south Eastern Tanzania [18], 17.4% reported in South Western Nigeria [9], 27.9% pregnant mothers in Kampala Uganda [19], 35.4% of pregnant mothers in north western Ethiopia, 13.2% of pregnant mothers in Ambo, Oromia regional state Ethiopia and 26.2% of pregnant mothers in Debrebrhan town, Amhara, Ethiopia were booked timely for antenatal care respectively [20, 22, 24].

This study result is also relatively lower compared to the findings of other studies which reported 80% in Indonesia [16], and 51.8% in Ethiopia [21], Such a relatively high difference in prevalence of timely booking in antenatal care is largely due to variation in year of study, socio demographic features of the study participants, media of information among health care givers, knowledge of mothers on importance of early ANC booking and poor community awareness on the issue of focused antenatal care.

In this study socio-demographic factors like age of the mother, educational background of the mother, marital status, income, religion, ethnicity, husband involvement and residence were not found to be related to timely Antenatal care booking. In contrast of this result, a study from Tanzania confirmed that not being supported by the husband or partner was identified as factors associated with a later antenatal care booking [18]. Similarly studies conducted in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Malawi, Oromia and SNNP of regional sates in Ethiopia reveled that, age, maternal education, older multifarious pregnant women are at particular predictors for antenatal care booking and unmarried younger women are also risk factor for booking early than married women [10, 18, 19, 22]. This difference could be due to sample size, time of study. This might be due to women in the older age group are more likely to have many children to care and many of the older pregnant women’s might have ingrained cultural biases against formal health care.

Birth experience in this study was associated with early booking for antenatal care. It is similar with the study done in Gedeo zone, SNNP region, Ethiopia during 2014 and parity was found as significant factors that influence timing of first Antenatal care booking [23]. This study is also consistent with the study done in Adigrat, Tigray, Ethiopia that showed that pregnant women who had parity one and above decreased the likelihood of late booking than the reference category [21].

Similarly this study is also consistent with the study done in Zambia and in United Kingdom which was showed that multiparous women were more likely to initiate ANC early compared to primiparous women [17, 26].

Regarding awareness about FANC, the study revealed that women who were informed on the correct time of booking were more likely to initiate ANC early compared to those without. This finding is similar to what a study done in Ambo town and other studies in Oromia, Gedeo zone, SNNP Ethiopia found out in their study where women who were well informed about timely ANC were more likely to book for ANC within the recommended time [22,23,24,25]. This similarity could be due the application of the national health policy of focused antenatal care in the nation. Furthermore, this study was able to confirm that pregnant women who had not have information on benefits of timely booking for ANC are derived from staring early, tend to start ANC late.

Conclusion and recommendation

Early antenatal care attendance remains low in both rural and semi-urban districts indicating that the importance of early initiation in Central Zone of Tigray regional state, Ethiopia is yet to be appreciated. Multiparty and receiving correct information on time of antenatal care booking have an association with early ANC booking. In order to improve this concern, it is important to provide information, education and communication to create community awareness regarding the time of first antenatal booking with its advantages. Similarly Regional Health Bureau and Ministry of Health should formulate a strategy to maximize the number of women’s who have information on it further community study should be recommended to explore additional causes for late antenatal booking.


Data from health facilities are potentially useful for monitoring time ANC in the number of pregnant mothers but have severe limitations. Analysis was based on routinely collected ANC data from public health institution. There is a possibility of both under and over reporting of timely ANC. Since cross sectional study does not show cause and effect relationship.



confidence interval


adjusted odd ratio


anti natal care


Statistical Package for Social Sciences


Southern Nation and Nationalities of People


Health Development Army


Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey


Tigray Regional Health Bureau


  1. Villar J, Ba’aqeel H, Piaggio G, Lumbiganon P, Miguel BJ, Farnot U. WHO antenatal care randomised trial for the evaluation of a new model of routine antenatal care. Lancets. 2001;357:1551–64.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. World Health Organization. Trends in maternal mortality: 1990 to 2008. Geneva: Estimates developed by WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA and The World Bank; 2010.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Magoma et al. BMC pregnancy and childbirth 2010;10:13.

  4. Central statistical authority (Ethiopia), ICF international 2014. Mini-Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey, 2014. Addis Ababa: Ethiopia and Calverton; Central Statistical Aauthority (Ethiopia) and ICF international; 2014. p. 37–42.

    Google Scholar 

  5. AbouZahr C, Wardlaw TM. Maternal mortality at the end decade: what sign of progress? Bull World Health Org. 2001;79:561–73.

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  6. World Health Organization/United Nations International Children’s Fund. Antenatal care in developing countries. Promises, achievements and missed opportunities: an analysis of trends, levels and differentials, 1990–2001. Geneva: WHO; 2003.

    Google Scholar 

  7. MS Maputle, RT Lebese, RT Lebese, LB Khoza, LB Khoza, NH Shilubane, NH Shilubane, LM Netshikweta, LM Netshikweta. Knowledge and attitudes of pregnant women towards antenatal care services at Tshino Village, Vhembe district, South Africa. Afr J Phys Act Health Sci 2013;19(12):126–37.

  8. Banta D. What is the efficacy/effectiveness of antenatal are and the financial and organizational implications?. Copenhagen: WHO Regional office for Europe [Health, Evidence Network report; 2003.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Adekanle DA, Isawumi AI. Late antenatal care booking and its predictors among pregnant women in south western Nigeria. Online J Health Allied Sci. 2008;7(1):4–8.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Pell C, Menaca A, Were F, Afrah N, Chatio S, et al. Factors affecting antenatal care attendance: results from qualitative studies in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi. PLoS ONE. 2013;8(1):e53747.

  11. Seljeskog L, Sundby J, Chimango J. Factors influencing women’s choice of place of delivery in rural Malawi-an explorative study. Afr J Reprod Health. 2006;10(3):66–75.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. WHO. Antenatal care in developing countries: promises, achievements and missed opportunities. An analysis of trends, levels and differentials, 1990–2001. Geneva: WHO; 2003.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Feleke G, Yohannes D, Bitiya A. Timing of first antenatal care attendance and associated factors among pregnant women in Arba Minch Town and Arba Minch District, Gamo Gofa Zone, South Ethiopia. J Environ Public Health. 2015;2015:7.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Safdar S, Inam SN, Omair A, Ahmed ST. Maternal health care in a rural area of Pakistan. J Pak Med Assoc. 2002;52:308–11.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  15. Prathapan S, Lindmark G, Fonseka P, Lokubalasooriya A, Prathapan R. How good is the quality of antenatal care in the Colombo district of Sri Lanka in diagnosing and treating anaemia? Qual Prim Care. 2011;19(4):245–50.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. Statistics Indonesia (Badan Pusat Statistik—BPS, National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN, Kementerian Kesehatan (Kemenkes—MOH, ICF International. Indonesia Demographic and Health Survey 2012. Jakarta: BPS, BKKBN, Kemenkes, and ICF International; 2013.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Banda Isaac, Michelo Charles, Hazemba Alice. Factors associated with late antenatal care attendance in selected rural and urban communities of the copperbelt Province of Zambia. Med J Zambia. 2012;39(3):1–8.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Gross et al. Timing of antenatal care for adolescent and adult pregnant women in south eastern Tanzania. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2012;12:16.

  19. Kisuule, et al. Timing and reasons for coming late for the first antenatal care visit by pregnant women at Mulago hospital, Kampala Uganda. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2013;13:121.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  20. Gudayu, et al. Timing and factors associated with first antenatal care booking among pregnant mothers in Gondar Town; North West Ethiopia. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2014;14:287.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  21. Lerebo W, Kidanu A, Tsadik M. Magnitude and associated factors of late booking for antenatal care in public health centers of Adigrat Town, Tigray, Ethiopia. Clin Mother Child Health. 2015;12:171.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Tolera G, et al. Time of antenatal care booking and associated factors among pregnant women attending ambo town health facilities, central Ethiopia. J Gynecol Obstetr. 2015;3(5):103–6.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Abebe. A: assessment of timing of first antenatal care booking and associated factors among pregnant women who attend antenatal care at health facilities in Dilla town, Gedeo zone, SNNP region, Ethiopia, 2014: Adisababa University electronic library, gray literature; 2014. p. 1–60.

  24. Amtatachew M. Prevalence and determinants of early antenatal care visit among pregnant women attending antenatal care in Debre Berhan Health Institutions, central Ethiopia. Afr J Reprod Health. 2013;17(4):134.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Belayneh H, et al. Predictors of early antenatal care booking in government health facilities of Hossana Town, Hadiya Zone, South Ethiopia: unmatched Case Control Study. J AIDS Clin Res. 2015;6:521.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Cresswell JA, et al. Predictors of the timing of initiation of antenatal care in an ethnically diverse urban cohort in the UK. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2013;13:103.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors’ contributions

GG conceived and designed the study, analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript. BH and TH data analysis, drafting of the manuscript and advising the whole research paper WG and KN were involved in the interpretation of the data and contributed to manuscript preparation. HG involve in title selection, data analysis, drafting of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Authors’ informations

GG holds M.Sc. in Maternity Nursing and Reproductive Health. GG has more than 7 years’ experience in Midwifery and Nursing Teaching and health research with particular emphasis on Child health and Maternal. GG is currently serving as the Lecturer at College of Health Sciences and Referral Hospital, Axum University, Ethiopia. BH, TH and KN holds master in Clinical Midwifery with more than 6 years’ experience in Teaching and research. HG holds M.Sc. in Pediatric and Child Health Nursing. HG has 8 years’ experience in Nursing health research with particular emphasis on Child health. HG has authored and co-authored over 10 scientific articles in reputable journals and is currently serving as Lecturer and Department Head of Neonatal Nursing at School of Nursing, College of Health Sciences and Referral Hospital, Axum University, Ethiopia. WG holds Lecturer in Adigrat University and has over 5 years’ experience in research and teaching.


We would like to thank all study participants and data collectors for their contribution in success of our work.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Availability of data and materials

The data sets used and analyzed during the current study available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

Consent to publish

Not applicable.

Ethics approval and consent to participate

Ethical clearance was secured from the Aksum University, College of Health Science research review committee. An official letter of permission was obtained from Tigray Regional Health Bureau. Respondents were well informed about the purpose of the study, and information was collected after full oral and written consent from participants aged 18 years and more, but age less than 18 year from the guardian. Information was recorded anonymously and confidentially, and beneficence was assured throughout the study period.


There is no funding for this research. All cost of data collection and analysis were covered by the authors.

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Hadgu Gerensea.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Gidey, G., Hailu, B., Nigus, K. et al. Timing of first focused antenatal care booking and associated factors among pregnant mothers who attend antenatal care in Central Zone, Tigray, Ethiopia. BMC Res Notes 10, 608 (2017).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: