Men in maternal care: evidence from India

J Biosoc Sci. 2012 Mar;44(2):129-53. doi: 10.1017/S0021932011000502. Epub 2011 Oct 18.


Men's supportive stance is an essential component for making women's world better. There are growing debates among policymakers and researchers on the role of males in maternal health programmes, which is a big challenge in India where society is male driven. This study aims to look into the variations and determinants of maternal health care utilization in India and in three demographically and socioeconomically disparate states, namely Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Maharashtra, by husband's knowledge, attitude, behaviour towards maternal health care and gender violence, using data from the National Family Health Survey III 2005-06 (equivalent to the Demographic and Health Survey in India). Women's antenatal care visits, institutional delivery and freedom in health care decisions are looked into, by applying descriptive statistics and multivariate models. Men's knowledge about pregnancy-related care and a positive gender attitude enhances maternal health care utilization and women's decision-making about their health care, while their presence during antenatal care visits markedly increases the chances of women's delivery in institutions. From a policy perspective, proper dissemination of knowledge about maternal health care among husbands and making the husband's presence obligatory during antenatal care visits will help primary health care units secure better male involvement in maternal health care.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Data Collection
  • Decision Making
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • India
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior / psychology*
  • Maternal Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Maternal Welfare / psychology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Prenatal Care / methods
  • Prenatal Care / psychology
  • Sex Factors
  • Spouse Abuse
  • Young Adult