Barriers to and Attitudes towards Promoting Husbands’ Involvement in Maternal Health in Katmandu, Nepal

Britta C. Mullany, Johns Hopkins University

In recent years, couple-friendly reproductive health services have garnered considerable attention. The sensitive nature of gender roles and relations in many cultures, however, makes the design and introduction of such services delicate. This qualitative study aims to (a) understand barriers to male involvement in maternal health, and (b) explore men’s, women’s, and providers’ attitudes towards the promotion of male involvement in maternal health. At a public maternity hospital in Katmandu, Nepal, 14 couples and 8 providers were interviewed and 17 couples participated in focus group discussions. Barriers to male involvement included low knowledge levels, social stigma, and shyness/embarrassment. Providers felt that couples-friendly services would enhance the quality of care and comprehension of health information given to pregnant women. Predominantly favorable attitudes of pregnant women, husbands, and providers towards encouraging greater male involvement in maternal health imply that offering an option of couples-friendly services would be both feasible and well accepted.

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Presented in Session 57: Implications of Gender Interactions and Ideologies for Reproductive Behavior