Empowerment and use of antenatal care among women in Ghana: A cross-sectional study

Heather Sipsma*, Angela Ofori-Atta, Maureen Canavan, Christopher Udry, Elizabeth Bradley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Empowerment among women in the context of a romantic relationship may affect the use of reproductive healthcare services; however, current literature examining this association is limited and inconsistent. We therefore aimed to examine the relationship between several measures of empowerment and use of inadequate antenatal care among women in Ghana. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study using data from a nationally representative cohort of women in Ghana. Our analytic sample was limited to non-pregnant women who had been pregnant and involved in a relationship within the last 12 months. We used multivariable logistic regression to assess the associations between empowerment and inadequate use of antenatal care and interaction terms to assess moderation by education. Results: Approximately 26% of women received inadequate antenatal care. Multivariable analysis indicated that having experienced physical abuse in the past year was directly associated with inadequate use of antenatal care (OR = 5.12; 95% CI = 1.35, 19.43) after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics. This effect was particularly pronounced among women with no formal education and was non-significant among women with at least some formal education (P-value for interaction <0.001). Conclusions: Results suggest that improving use of reproductive health care services will require reducing partner abuse and enhancing empowerment among women in Ghana and other low-income countries, particularly among those with no formal education. Furthermore, the involvement of male partners will be critical for improving reproductive health outcomes, and increasing education among girls in these settings is likely a strong approach for improving reproductive health and buffering effects of low empowerment among women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number364
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Antenatal care
  • Empowerment
  • Partner abuse
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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