Abstract : The potential of antenatal care for reducing maternal morbidity and improving newborn survival and health is widely acknowledged. Yet there are worrying gaps in the factors that influence ANC attendance. The study determined the Socio-cultural factors influencing attendance for ANC services and to establish the effects of these factors on the quest to improve maternal and child health and prevent maternal mortality. Data was collected using quantitative and qualitative methodologies. The tools used for data collection included questionnaire and in-depth interviews. Data was collected from ANC clients/ registrants, ANC providers as well as opinion leaders who matter in social and cultural issues. The study established that social and cultural barriers such as beliefs, female literacy, poverty, and age of women, quality of care and myths and misconceptions influenced the timing and utilization of ANC services. The study concluded that low empowerment of women, low educational levels, poor health infrastructure and poor attitude of health staff as well as pregnancy outdooring and other cultural factors determines partly the utilization of ANC service. Therefore intervention measures in place to improve women access and utilization of ANC services mainly address the supply side and ignore the demand side which makes the whole process fail to improve the situation on ground. More friendly and sufficient health care services were therefore recommended to be provided to boost confidence of the community masses on health care and its providers. In addition, appropriate health education that is culturally acceptable and addresses the harmful traditional practices and benefits of safe motherhood should be explored and employed as short term measure. I believe that empowering women may be a more permanent work out on this issue.
Keyword : Pregnancy, Sociocultural, Antenatal, utilization, “Pregnancy Outdooring”