We examined partner notification among syphilitic pregnant women in Nairobi. At delivery, 377 women were found to be rapid plasma reagin (RPR) reactive. Data were available for 94% of the partners of women who were tested during pregnancy; over 67% of the partners had received syphilis treatment while 23% had not sought treatment mainly because they felt healthy. Six per cent of the women had not informed their partners as they feared blame and/or violence. Adverse pregnancy outcome was related to lack of partner treatment during pregnancy (7% versus 19%, odds ratio (OR) 3.0, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.9-10.0). Our data suggest that messages focusing on the health of the unborn child have a positive effect on partner notification and innovative and locally adapted strategies for partner notification need more attentio