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Although the health care resources in Chin State are comparable to those in other regions, the indicators of maternal health status there are the poorest in Myanmar. While the Myanmar government has initiated health care system reforms, the increase in service capacity alone is a necessary but insufficient condition to improve access. Because the effectiveness of antenatal care is critical in terms of reducing maternal mortality and serious morbidity, this study determines how women’s beliefs affect the utilization of antenatal services. The qualitative study analyzes in-depth interviews with 25 women who had given birth during the past year in both rural and urban areas of three townships in Chin State. The results show that women’s beliefs strongly influence the utilization of antenatal services. The women did not recognize pregnancy risks or the benefits of antenatal services. They also did not trust the staff in the formal health care sector, and their trust in traditional birth attendants served as a barrier to utilization of antenatal service. To improve utilization, policymakers must understand the sociocultural context of women, as well as their beliefs and trust related to antenatal care, and should design policy to address the relevant influencing factors.
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