Antenatal care is considered to be important in following-up pregnancy with the purpose to prevent worse pregnancy outcomes and to initiate early treatments when necessary. Not all women however, receive the care needed during pregnancy.
In this dissertation a prospective observational study was conducted in the Brussels Metropolitan Region and provided insight in (1) differences in antenatal care trajectories (2) determinants that influence the antenatal care trajectory and (3) the relation between the appropriateness of the antenatal care trajectory and the risk of preterm birth. In order to achieve these goals a new tool was developed to define antenatal care trajectories incorporating elements of content and timing of care during pregnancy.
Our results showed that when considering a whole range of determinants, especially women with a foreign origin or a lower education had less chance on an appropriate antenatal care trajectory. Continuity of care was positively related with the likelihood to complete an appropriate care trajectory. Furthermore, a more appropriate care trajectory was associated with lower risks of preterm birth.
This study demonstrated the need for special attention and extra support for vulnerable women during their pregnancy. Additionally, the new tool which included elements of content and timing of care, provided some answers to the demands of including more than simply the number of visits when evaluating antenatal care trajectories.
Date of Award6 May 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
SupervisorFreddy Louckx (Promotor), Koen Putman (Promotor), Marc Leys (Jury), Hendrik Cammu (Jury), Anne-Marie Depoorter (Jury), Y. Jacquemyn (Jury) & Ilse Delbaere (Jury)


  • Antenatal care
  • Determinants
  • care trajectories
  • prospective observational study
  • Brussels

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