Maternal Health Behaviors and Outcomes in a Nomadic Tibetan Population

Corrina Moucheraud, Lhusham Gyal, Kunchok Gyaltsen, Lumo Tsering, Subasri Narasimhan, Jessica Gipson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Despite significant global improvements in maternal health, large disparities persist. In China, rural women and women who live in western regions experience lower rates of maternal healthcare utilization and higher rates of maternal mortality than women elsewhere in the country. This paper examines maternal health care-seeking among nomadic Tibetan women in rural western China, a particularly understudied group. Methods Secondary data analysis was conducted with survey data collected in 2014 in Qinghai Province, China. Participants (rural, nomadic, adult women) provided birth histories and information on care received during antenatal, intrapartum and/or postpartum period(s). Using bivariate and multivariable logistic regression models, these outcomes were explored in relation to maternal characteristics (e.g., educational attainment and parity), use of health insurance, and time. Results Approximately half of all women had ever used antenatal care, institutional delivery, and/or skilled birth attendance. The utilization of these services has increased over time, from 10% of births prior to the year 2000, to approximately 50% since 2000. Utilization increased by year (odds ratios ranging from 1.1 to 1.3) even after controlling for covariates. Women with health insurance coverage were significantly more likely to use these services than women without insurance, although less than 20% of women reported that insurance paid for any antenatal and/or childbirth care. Discussion Utilization of maternal care is improving among this population but rates remain low in comparison to other women in rural, western China. Further targeted interventions may be needed to reach and adequately address the maternal health needs of this unique population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-273
Number of pages10
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Antenatal care
  • China
  • Institutional delivery
  • Maternal health
  • Nomadic population
  • Skilled birth attendance
  • Tibet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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