Determinants of pregnancy outcomes and targeting of maternal health services in Jamaica

Soc Sci Med. 1993 Jul;37(2):199-211. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(93)90455-d.


Detailed nationally representative population level data were used to investigate the pre-natal care and delivery experiences of pregnant women in Jamaica. The results of this study show that: (a) demographic criteria (particularly first births) and self-reported clinical pregnancy complications are valid predictors of deleterious maternal health outcomes and can be used to stratify mothers into risk groups. (b) There appears to be a significant problem of under and inappropriate utilization of pre-natal care services by all women and in particular by demographically 'high risk' women, i.e. young, first time mothers. Significant proportions of the latter group report either no pre-natal care visits at all or visits which are later than the first trimester. The problems of delayed initiation of pre-natal care are specially exacerbated for poor, teenage mothers who happen to be living in the Kingston Metropolitan Area. (c) In terms of the content and quality of pre-natal care services the message is somewhat mixed. On the positive side the pre-natal care system is doing a moderately satisfactory job with regard to diagnostic tests and educational advice. On the negative side however, the fact that once women enter the health care system they all receive the same moderately adequate care (in terms of diagnostic evaluations and educational advice) with no attempt to focus particular attention on high risk mothers is troublesome. (d) With regard to appropriate delivery venues for pregnant women, pre-natal care visits do not appear to significantly influence the choice of delivery venues. Moreover, rich urban women are much more likely to deliver in a hospital than their rural peers. In conclusion, the study discusses the social and behavioral context of these results, addresses the policy implications and makes some recommendations to improve maternal health services.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Jamaica
  • Maternal Age
  • Maternal Health Services*
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Prenatal Care* / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors