• health geography;
  • India;
  • mass media;
  • prenatal care service

The Government of India considers prenatal care programs as a priority activity for promoting safe motherhood and child survival. It relies heavily on electronic mass media, including radio, television, and cinema to educate mothers—two-thirds of whom are illiterate—about prenatal check-ups and timing, iron prophylaxis, and tetanus toxoid injections. This study evaluated the effect of mothers' exposure to electronic mass media on knowledge and use of prenatal care services, using data from India's 1998–1999 National Family Health Survey. Multivariate logistic regressions were used to estimate the effects of media exposure by calculating odds ratios of each of the four response variables (complete prenatal care services, prenatal check-ups, tetanus toxoid injections, and iron prophylaxes) for exposure to mass media. The results indicated that exposure to mass media is related to the use of prenatal care services even when other likely causes of the relationships are statistically controlled at their mean. The effect also showed a north-south divide among the Indian States, being stronger in northern states as compared with southern states.