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Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on antenatal care utilisation in Kenya: a cross-sectional study.



The aim of this study was to assess the effects of COVID-19 on antenatal care (ANC) utilisation in Kenya, including women's reports of COVID-related barriers to ANC and correlates at the individual and household levels.


Cross-sectional study.


Six public and private health facilities and associated catchment areas in Nairobi and Kiambu Counties in Kenya.


Data were collected from 1729 women, including 1189 women who delivered in healthcare facilities before the COVID-19 pandemic (from September 2019-January 2020) and 540 women who delivered during the pandemic (from July through November 2020). Women who delivered during COVID-19 were sampled from the same catchment areas as the original sample of women who delivered before to compare ANC utilisation.

Primary and secondary outcome measures

Timing of ANC initiation, number of ANC visits and adequate ANC utilisation were primary outcome measures. Among only women who delivered during COVID-19 only, we explored women's reports of the pandemic having affected their ability to access or attend ANC as a secondary outcome of interest.


Women who delivered during COVID-19 had significantly higher odds of delayed ANC initiation (ie, beginning ANC during the second vs first trimester) than women who delivered before (aOR 1.72, 95% CI 1.24 to 2.37), although no significant differences were detected in the odds of attending 4-7 or ≥8 ANC visits versus <4 ANC visits, respectively (aOR 1.12, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.44 and aOR 1.46, 95% CI 0.74 to 2.86). Nearly half (n=255/540; 47%) of women who delivered during COVID-19 reported that the pandemic affected their ability to access ANC.


Strategies are needed to mitigate disruptions to ANC among pregnant women during pandemics and other public health, environmental, or political emergencies.

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