Resolution of Uncertainty through Testing: The Impact of Pregnancy Tests on Reproductive and Maternal Health Beliefs and Behavior in Uganda

Investigator: Alison B. Comfort, PhD
Sponsor: University of Illinois

Location(s): Uganda


Given the high rate of delayed adoption of antenatal care (ANC), and high rates of unintended pregnancy and unsafe abortion in Uganda, research on the period of time before confirmation of pregnancy is critical to understand underlying beliefs that guide behaviors ultimately important for maternal and neonatal health (UDHS, 2011; Hussain, 2013).

Home pregnancy tests - which now cost less than 10 cents each - have the potential to facilitate FP uptake and significantly improve reproductive, maternal and child health outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa, including Uganda. These tests are easy to administer, disposable, inexpensive, and have a low false positive rate. Yet, for women living in rural areas in sub-Saharan countries, these tests are typically unavailable outside of health centers or they are prohibitively expensive.

This study will investigate women's underlying beliefs about pregnancy status and examine how providing access to home-based pregnancy tests - thus facilitating earlier resolution of uncertainty of pregnancy status - influences such beliefs and decisions to take up family planning (FP) or seek appropriate pregnancy services.