Opportunities for male involvement during pregnancy in Magu district, rural Tanzania

E. Vermeulen, A. Solnes Miltenburg*, J. Barras, N. Maselle, M. van Elteren, J. van Roosmalen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Male involvement during antenatal care is promoted to be an important intervention to increase positive maternal and new born health outcomes. Despite active promotion to stimulate male involvement during antenatal care, few men in Tanzania accompany women to their antenatal care visits. This study aims to understand perceptions, attitudes and behaviour of men regarding their role and involvement during pregnancy and antenatal care visits in a rural district in Tanzania. Methods: Data collection took place in Magu District between September 2013 and March 2014, using a mixed method approach. This included observations at six government health facilities, nine focus group discussions (with a total of 76 participants) and 26 semi-structured interviews of participants, included through convenience- and snowball sampling. Additionally, a questionnaire was distributed among 156 women attending antenatal care, regarding their partners' involvement in their pregnancy. Qualitative analysis was done through coding of themes based on the Three Delays Framework. Descriptive analysis was used for quantitative data. Results: Male involvement in pregnancy and antenatal care in Magu district is low. Although men perceived antenatal care as important for pregnant women, most husbands had a passive attitude concerning their own involvement. Barriers for male involvement included: traditional gender roles, lack of knowledge, perceived low accessibility to join antenatal care visits and previous negative experiences in health facilities. Conclusion: Although several barriers impede male involvement during antenatal care, men's internal motivation and attitudes towards their role during pregnancy was generally positive. Increasing community awareness and knowledge about the importance of male involvement and increasing accessibility of antenatal clinics can reduce some of the barriers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number66
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2016


  • Antenatal care
  • Barriers to access
  • HIV testing
  • Male involvement
  • Maternal health
  • Pregnancy


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