Background: Considering the fact that neonatal are the most susceptible group against different kinds of disease, the present study aimed to evaluate the predictive power of the theory of planned behavior on the intention of pregnant women to neonatal care.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 100 pregnant women were selected in their trimester of pregnancy via random sampling in health centers of Arak in 2019. Data was collected using a questionnaire and interviews with pregnant women. The questionnaire included demographic characteristics of the mothers and the theory of planned behavior construct. The data were analyzed via Pearson correlation and linear regression.
Results: The average age was 26.12±4.9 years and their marriage age were 3.9±2.7 years. There was a close correlation between perceived behavioral control and behavioral intention (r=0.40; p <0.001). Over 40% of the pregnant women were found not to have enough overall neonatal care-associated knowledge. The mothers who were better prepared for parenting tended to have a higher level of schooling, perceived control behavior, and knowledge. Regression analysis revealed that the constructs of the theory of planned behavior predicted variance of 32% in intention. Perceived behavioral control and knowledge were the most significant predictors of the intention to neonatal care (p <0.001).
Conclusions: This study supports the predictive ability of the theory of planned behavior for neonatal care; therefore, the design of educational intervention should be based on intention and knowledge as the most important predictors of maternal behavior.