Data and Statistics

Antenatal care

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Data
Publication Year:
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being

UNICEF Global Data for Antenatal Care. There are wide disparities in antenatal care across countries.  

There are wide disparities in antenatal care across countries

The lowest levels of antenatal care are observed in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

Regular contact with a doctor, nurse or midwife during pregnancy allows women to receive services vital to their health and that of their future children. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum of eight antenatal care contacts to reduce perinatal mortality and improve women’s experience of care. However, global, regional and comparable country reported data are only available for the previous recommendation which was a minimum of four visits. Currently available data indicate that women receive at least 4 antenatal care visits.


A faster pace of progress is needed in the coverage of antenatal care in high burden regions

Globally, while 86 per cent of pregnant women access antenatal care with a skilled health personnel at least once, only two in three (65 per cent) receive at least four antenatal visits. In regions with the highest rates of maternal mortality, such as sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, even fewer women received at least four antenatal visits (52 per cent and 49 per cent, respectively). In viewing the data, it is important to remember that these percentages bear no reflection on either the skill level of the health-care provider or the quality of care, both of which can influence whether such care actually succeeds in bringing about improved maternal and newborn health.


Most pregnant women access skilled antenatal care at least once, but only 65 per cent receive four antenatal care visits

Antenatal care can help women prepare for delivery and understand warning signs during pregnancy and childbirth. It can be a source of micronutrient supplementation, treatment of hypertension to prevent eclampsia, immunization against tetanus, HIV testing, in addition to medications to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in cases of HIV-positive pregnant women. In areas where malaria is endemic, health personnel can also provide pregnant women with medications and insecticide-treated mosquito nets to help prevent this debilitating and sometimes deadly disease.


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