Percent of men who accompany their partner to an antenatal care visit

The percent of men who accompany their spouse or partner to at least one antenatal care (ANC) visit.

This indicator is calculated as:

(# of men who accompany their partner to an ANC visit/ Total # of men who report their partner had an antenatal visit) x 100

‘Accompany’ their partner means that the man went with his spouse or partner to the health facility and ideally was ‘present’ in the room during the ANC check-up.


Responses to structured or in-depth interviews.  The DHS Male Questionnaire includes a question on whether men were present during any of their partners’ antenatal check-ups.  Where the detail is available, disaggregation of the indicator by men’s age, number of children, education, income, urban/rural status and other relevant factors may contribute to interpretation of findings.


DHS; surveys among the male clientele at health facilities or among the men in the general public (population based); alternative sources are surveys among the spouses and partners of participants in male-focused programs.


This indicator measures the engagement of the male partner in the couple’s pregnancy care. The extent of men’s support for their spouses’ and partners’ reproductive healthcare can significantly affect outcomes. Men’s knowledge of their partners’ reproductive health needs during pregnancy and delivery, danger signs and how to address them, making delivery and transportation plans, and so forth, can be enhanced through their presence during ANC visits and discussions (UNFPA, 2003; Promundo, UNFPA, MenEngage, 2010).  Burgess (2007) found that male involvement during the prenatal, newborn, and early childhood periods can lead to favorable outcomes for the entire family and increases the likelihood that the father will continue to provide care throughout his children’s lives.

Men’s ability to be present at antenatal care is subject to numerous external constraints, such as, health facility procedures, time and work demands, and even health providers’ and other family members’ attitudes toward men’s involvement.  Younger men appear to be more affected by these constraints than older men and disaggregating the indicator by age is advised.  Programs targeting first time and younger fathers for engaging them in maternal, newborn, and child healthcare (MNCH) can affirm young men’s identity as fathers, encourage participation in MNCH, provide support of developing parenting skills, and address men’s anxieties and concerns about their partners’ pregnancy, childbirth and subsequent parenting (Promundo, UNFPA, MenEngage, 2010).


The indicator as it stands does not measure the degree of the man’s engagement in the actual ANC visit, whether he was present in the room during the examination and if he participated in discussions about care, nutrition, delivery, danger signs, etc.  It is important to recognize that men’s involvement in their partners’ ANC can also be a product of the male’s intent to control his partner and his presence could further reduce the woman’s autonomy in an area that has traditionally been one where women exercised decision-making. 


attitude, male engagement

Burgess, A. (2007). The costs and benefits of active fatherhood: evidence and insights to inform the development of policy and practice. Fathers Direct.

Promundo, UNFPA, MenEngage, 2010, Engaging Men and Boys in Gender Equality and Health: A Global Toolkit for Action. http://www.unfpa.org/public/site/global/pid/6815

UNFPA, 2007, It Takes Two: Partnering with Men in Reproductive and Sexual Health,  http://www.unfpa.org/news/it-takes-two-men-partners-maternal-health

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