Factors influencing antenatal care attendance by pregnant women aged 18-24 in Bangkok, Thailand: An exploratory qualitative study

Author: Patcharaporn Jongmuenwai

Jongmuenwai, Patcharaporn, 2024 Factors influencing antenatal care attendance by pregnant women aged 18-24 in Bangkok, Thailand: An exploratory qualitative study, Flinders University, College of Nursing and Health Sciences

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Early antenatal care attendance can prevent some adverse pregnancy outcomes and promote maternal and fetal health. However, Thai young pregnant women start utilising antenatal care later than older pregnant women. Therefore, gaining more understanding about the reasons for late access to antenatal care among young pregnant women in Thailand may help the health care providers to provide antenatal care appropriately and improve pregnancy outcomes for young mothers and their babies.

World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics show the birth rate has decreased in young pregnant women globally. However, there are various statistics in each country. In Thailand, the adolescent birth rate was 51 per 1,000 adolescents in 2015. In addition, the repeated pregnancy among adolescents in Thailand was still high. Plus, young maternal age has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. For example, preterm labour, pre-eclampsia, and anemia. In addition, pregnancy at a young age may cause socio-economic disadvantages.

Aim and objectives

This study aims to understand the maternity care experiences of young pregnant women aged 18-24 years old who are attending antenatal care in Bangkok, Thailand. The objectives were to 1) explore young pregnant women’s maternity care perceptions and experiences, 2) identify barriers and enablers of antenatal care attendance, and 3) identify the antenatal care gaps and unfulfilled needs of pregnant women aged 18-24 attending antenatal care in Bangkok, Thailand.


The study was conducted using a qualitative exploratory methodology. Semi-structured interviews were used to collect data from 10 participants. Thematic analysis was applied to analyse data.


There were five main emerging themes including: 1) Factors influencing antenatal care attendance; 2) Barriers to attending antenatal care; 3) Perceptions in term of young pregnant women; 4) Experience of young pregnant women during their first antenatal care visit; and 5) Service improvements.

Sub themes of factors influencing antenatal care attendance included: The baby health awareness, health knowledge, resources of influence, perceive supports, and location of the service. Barriers to attending antenatal care were lack of education, unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, financial problems and stigma. Participants perceived being pregnant at a young age variously including positive, negative and mixed positive and negative opinions.

The suggestions for the service improvements are increasing continuity of care, enhancing partners participation, and specific antenatal education classes for young women.


This study demonstrated there are many factors influence antenatal care attendance among Thai young pregnant women in Bangkok. However, it also identified barriers for young pregnant women to start attending antenatal care. Antenatal care service modification and improvement will benefit both clients and families. Empowering young pregnant women by providing health education would help to increase early antenatal care attendance.

Keywords: young pregnant women, antenatal care, Thailand

Subject: Midwifery thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2024
School: College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Supervisor: Annette Briley