Background: Antenatal care is one of the pillars of SAFE Motherhood Initiative aimed at preventing adverse pregnancy outcome. Early antenatal booking is recommended for this benefit. Aim: The objective of this study was to determine the antenatal booking pattern of pregnant women and its determinants. Subjects and Methods: A crossâÂÂsectional survey of pregnant women attending the antenatal booking clinic at Federal Medical Centre Abakaliki Ebonyi State between April 6, 2011 to August 5, 2011 was undertaken. Epi info 2008 version was used for analysis. Results: The mean age of the respondents was 27.46 (5.81) years and the mean gestational age at booking was 24.33 (5.52) weeks. A total of 83.1% (286/344) of the pregnant women booked after the first trimester while the remaining 16.9% (56/344) booked early. SocioâÂÂbiological variables and past obstetrics history did not contribute significantly to the gestational age at booking while sickness in index pregnancy, personal wishes, and financial constraint were statistically significant reasons given for seeking antenatal care. Majority of the pregnant women 37.2% (128/344) suggested that the second trimester was the ideal gestational age for booking while 18.3% (63/344) did not know the ideal gestational age for booking. Most pregnant women 81.1% ( 279/344) knew the benefits of early antenatal care even though they booked late 83.1% (286/344). Conclusion: Most pregnant women access antenatal care late at Abakaliki because of misconception and poverty. Health education and subsidization of cost of medical services will help in reversing the trend of late antenatal booking.
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