The percentage of institutional births in India has doubled from 38.7% to 78.9% in the decade to 2015-16, according to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4).

As many as 40% women who did not deliver in a health facility in the age group of 15-49 years did not consider it “necessary”, the data show.

Source : National Family Health Survey, 2015-16
Note: Women interviewed in rural India: 29,081, urban: 5,228; Totals may add up to more than 100% as respondents may have cited more than one reason.

In urban India, 16.8% women who did not deliver in a health facility said their husband or family did not allow them to give birth in a health facility, as did 18.2% of such women in rural India.

More women in rural areas (16.2%) cited higher costs as the reason for not delivering in a health facility compared to urban areas (14.5%). Distance and lack of transportation were also cited as reasons by more rural women (19.3%) compared to urban women (11%).

Institutional deliveries, particularly in private sector facilities, increase with mother’s education and the household wealth index, data show.

While only 61.6% mothers with no schooling delivered in a health facility, 94.7% mothers with 12 or more years of schooling delivered in a health facility in 2015-16.

Mothers with no schooling, preferring their own home for live birth, declined from 70.4% in 2005-06 to 33.4% in 2015-16, the data show.

Over the 10-year period, the top 20% of the population by income delivering in a health facility has gone up from 83.7% to 95.3%. The proportion among the poor delivering in a health facility has increased over this period from 12.7% to 59.6%.

The proportion of births occurring in a health facility is higher for mothers under 20 years (81.4%) and 20-34 years (79.3%) than for mothers between 35-49 years (61.8%).

(Mohan is an intern with IndiaSpend.)

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