Women’s empowerment and use of antenatal care (ANC) services remain important in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). This assessed the association between women’s empowerment and ANC use in five ASEAN countries. ANC information for the most recent births of 29,444 currently married women in the last 5 years preceding the Demographic Health Survey was analyzed (Cambodia [DHS2014], Indonesia [DHS2012], Myanmar [DHS2015-2016], Philippines [DHS2013], and Timor-Leste [DHS2009]). Analyses used multiple logistic regression adjusting for complex sampling designs. The number of ANC visits was positively associated with labor-force participation in Cambodia, the Philippines, and Timor-Leste; with disagreement with justification for wife beating and women’s knowledge level in Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar; and with women’s decision-making power in Cambodia and Indonesia. The association of women’s empowerment variables with timing of the first ANC visit was not as evident as that for number of ANC visits. Compared to adult mothers, adolescent mothers with medium knowledge level had less odds of attending ≥4 ANC in Cambodia, and adolescent mothers with the poorest labor-force participation had lower odds of attending the first ANC early in Myanmar. Tailored policy on women’s improved access to labor force and health information in each country may be needed to improve ANC use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1155-1171
Number of pages17
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2019


  • Antenatal care
  • decision-making power
  • knowledge level
  • labor force participation
  • women’s disagreement toward wife beating
  • women’s empowerment


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