Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Single motherhood and prenatal care utilisation
  1. S Martins1,
  2. S Silva1,2,3,
  3. E Pinto2,4,
  4. H Barros1,2,3
  1. 1Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, University of Porto Medical School, Porto, Portugal
  2. 2Institute of Public Health (ISPUP), Porto, Portugal
  3. 3Cardiovascular Research & Development Unit, Porto, Portugal
  4. 4CBQF – Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto, Portugal


In order to improve prenatal outcomes there has been a special emphasis on adequacy of prenatal care. Members of two-parent families' experience better physical and mental health than members of single-parent families. Thus, we aim to evaluate the adequacy of prenatal care according to the family structure (single motherhood vs two-parent family) in a population with free universal access to prenatal care.

It is based in 8001 mothers enrolled in the Portuguese birth cohort Geração XXI. Women were interviewed 24 to 72 h after delivery at public maternities in Porto, Portugal. Maternal data were collected, by questionnaire, between April 2005 and August 2006. Single mothers were single, divorced or widowed and had no partner at the delivery. Multivariate logistic regression models were fitted to quantify the association between adequate prenatal care and single motherhood.

Overall, 5.5% (n=438) were single mothers, 20.1% (n=88) living solely with her children. Single mothers were more likely to have unplanned pregnancy (OR=4.55; 95%CI 1.02 to 1.76) and late care (after 12 gestational weeks, OR=1.51; 95%CI 1.15 to 2.00). Private prenatal care was significantly less frequent among single mothers (OR=0.57; 95%CI 0.42 to 0.79). The number of prenatal visits, an ultrasound in the first trimester and to take folic acid supplementation in the first trimester were not independently associated with single-motherhood.

Single motherhood affects the uptake of prenatal care. Its long-term impact on children's and mother's health and well-being need to be evaluated.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.