While health care providers agree that care during and after pregnancy is critical for maternal health, there is little evidence on what happens during these visits or on how to deliver care effectively. The content and quality of care are just as important as the frequency of health care visits during this critical period.

Due to the lack of well-developed models for implementing and evaluating antenatal and postnatal care, the MHTF partnered with ICS Integrare and the World Health Organization (WHO) Special Programme in Human Reproduction to systematically assess the barriers to care before and after birth and identify opportunities for developing cost-effective interventions for antenatal and postnatal care.

The MHTF and ICS Integrare published case studies that assessed antenatal and postnatal care programs in various countries. These in-depth assessments involved an extensive review of available literature and interviews with program developers and implementers. The case studies highlight models of antenatal and postnatal care that can be adapted and brought to scale in low-resource settings to benefit women and children.

In addition to the case studies, the study team conducted a systematic review of existing qualitative and quantitative research on integrating antenatal and postnatal care to identify best practices for integration. The review found a great need for further research on successes and challenges associated with delivering integrated care.

The study team also conducted a second review examining women’s perceptions of factors contributing to quality antenatal care. Common factors identified by the women interviewed included having a doctor present during exams and screening for complications.

The Adding Content to Contact project aimed to better understand the perspectives of women and providers on successful strategies for integrating antenatal and postnatal care. With this evidence in mind, researchers can create better models of integrated care, and programmers can develop more effective interventions.

You can find more information about the publications resulting from the Adding Content to Contact project on the MHTF blog.

Read the findings from the studies conducted as a part of the Adding Content to Contact project:

Antenatal and postnatal care: A review of innovative models for improving availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of services in low-resource settings
BJOG | March 2016

What matters to women: A systematic scoping review to identify the processes and outcomes of antenatal care provision that are important to healthy pregnant women
BJOG | March 2016

Integration of antenatal care services with health programmes in low– and middle–income countries: Systematic review
Journal of Global Health | June 2016

Case studies on antenatal and postnatal care