Measuring the quality of antenatal care in a context of high utilisation: Evidence from Telangana, India

Emma Radovich*, Monica Chaudhry, Loveday Penn-Kekana, K. Radha Krishnam Raju, Aparajita Mishra, Ramya Vallabhuni, Prashant Jarhyan, Sailesh Mohan, Dorairaj Prabhakaran, Oona M. R. Campbell, Clara Calvert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Antenatal care coverage has dramatically increased in many low-and middle-income settings, including in the state of Telangana, India. However, there is increasing evidence of shortfalls in the quality of care women receive during their pregnancies. This study aims to examine dimensions of antenatal care quality in Telangana, India using four primary and secondary data sources. Methods: Data from two secondary statewide data sources (National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), 2019–21; Health Management Information System (HMIS), 2019–20) and two primary data sources (a facility survey in 19 primary health centres and sub-centres in selected districts of Telangana; and observations of 36 antenatal care consultations at these facilities) were descriptively analysed. Results: NFHS-5 data showed about 73% of women in Telangana received all six assessed antenatal care components during pregnancy. HMIS data showed high coverage of antenatal care visits but differences in levels of screening, with high coverage of haemoglobin tests for anaemia but low coverage of testing for gestational diabetes and syphilis. The facility survey found missing equipment for several key antenatal care services. Antenatal care observations found blood pressure measurement and physical examinations had high coverage and were generally performed correctly. There were substantial deficiencies in symptom checking and communication between the woman and provider. Women were asked if they had any questions in 22% of consultations. Only one woman was asked about her mental health. Counselling of women on at least one of the ten items relating to birth preparedness and on at least one of six danger signs occurred in 58% and 36% of consultations, respectively. Conclusion: Despite high coverage of antenatal care services and some essential maternal and foetal assessments, substantial quality gaps remained, particularly in communication between healthcare providers and pregnant women and in availability of key services. Progress towards achieving high quality in both content and experience of antenatal care requires addressing service gaps and developing better measures to capture and improve women’s experiences of care.

Original languageEnglish
Article number876
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalBMC pregnancy and childbirth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Antenatal care
  • India
  • Maternity care
  • Quality of care


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