Women and health professionals' perspectives on a conditional cash transfer programme to improve pregnancy follow-up: a qualitative analysis of the NAITRE randomised controlled study

Women of low socioeconomic status have been described as having suboptimal prenatal care, which in turn has been associated with poor pregnancy outcomes. Many types of conditional cash transfer (CCT) programmes have been developed, including programmes to improve prenatal care or smoking cessation during pregnancy, and their effects demonstrated. However, ethical critiques have included paternalism and lack of informed choice. Our objective was to determine if women and healthcare professionals (HPs) shared these concerns. We conducted a multicentre cross-sectional qualitative study among women and HPs who participated in the NAITRE Study to assess their views on CCT. The women were interviewed after childbirth. Women did not perceive CCT negatively. They did not mention feeling stigmatised. They described CCT as a significant source of aid for women with limited financial resources. HP described the CCT in less positive terms, for example, expressing concern about discussing cash transfer at their first medical consultation with women. Though they emphasised ethical concerns about the basis of the trial, they recognised the importance of evaluating CCT.