Low maternal healthcare service utilization contributes to poor maternal and new born health outcomes in rural Zambia. The purpose of this study was to identify important factors influencing women’s intention to use these services in Kalomo, Zambia. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect data from 1007 women of reproductive age (15–45 years) from 13 rural health centres with the lowest service utilization rates in the district. Questions included measures of (past) healthcare seeking behaviour, psychosocial variables (attitude, perceived social norms, perceived behavioural control), logistical barriers (e.g. distance to the clinic) and sociodemographic variables (e.g. age, income and education level). Overall, our findings showed that most respondents had high intention to use healthcare services. Intention was positively associated with attitude, personal norms, behavioural control, education and income levels. Conversely, intention was negatively related to perceived social norms, age and distance. Multivariate regression analysis showed that, together, these variables accounted for 41.8% of the variance in intention, with perceived behavioural control being the strongest predictor of intention, followed by geographical distance and perceived social norms. These findings suggest that public health programmes mitigating these important factors are likely to motivate pregnant women to use maternal healthcare services.