Millennium Development Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Target: Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health
Globally, less than half of all pregnant women benefit from the minimum recommended four antenatal visits. For example, in a subset of South Asian countries with available data, 68 per cent of pregnant women received antenatal care at least once in 2000–2007, compared with 34 per cent who received it at least four times.
These antenatal care data do not reflect the quality of care, which is difficult to measure. But it is essential to ensure the quality of antenatal care so that services provided contribute to improved maternal health.
The antenatal period presents important opportunities for reaching pregnant women with a number of interventions that may be vital to their health and well-being and that of their infants.