Background The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends pediatric prenatal care visits and resident training in this area. The purpose of this study was to ascertain whether expectant mothers in Mobile, Alabama, received pediatric and obstetric prenatal care visits (PNCV) and to determine which topics were discussed.
Methods Surveys were distributed to three groups, which included pediatricians/pediatric residents, obstetricians/ obstetric residents, and a sample of postpartum mothers at our institution. The practitioner's survey included demographics, number of PNCV/month, and topics discussed. The survey for the postpartum mothers included demographics, identification of the child's physician, information regarding PNCV, and topics discussed during these visits.
Results There were 74 pediatricians/pediatric residents surveyed, with 41 physicians (55%) completing the survey. The average number of PNCV among pediatricians and pediatric residents was 2.3 and 1 visit/month, respectively. 100% of the pediatricians did not receive financial reimbursement for the PNCV. 63 obstetricians/obstetric residents were surveyed with 25 physicians (40%) completing the survey. The average number of PNCV among obstetricians and obstetric residents was 83 and 40 visits/month, respectively. 67% of obstetricians and 71% of obstetric residents stated that they suggest a pediatric PNCV. A convenience sample of 77 mothers (38% primiparous and 62% multiparous) completed the survey. Despite 96% of the mothers surveyed reporting the importance of a pediatric PNCV and 95% of the mothers stating that they would recommend others to have one, only 19% had a pediatric PNCV. In addition, only 54% of mothers had chosen their child's physician prior to delivery. Common topics discussed by physicians during PNCV include infant nutrition, past maternal medical history, and hospitalization course. Furthermore, mothers who received pediatric PNCV stated that they received guidance regarding preparation for the infant and infant care-related issues.
Conclusions Postpartum mothers view pediatric PNCV as important and would suggest others to have a pediatric PNCV. However, only a small percentage of women in this study actually had contact with their child's physician prior to delivery. Additionally, an unacceptable percentage of mothers had not even chosen their child's physician until the time of delivery. Expectant mothers who do not receive a pediatric PNCV rarely have the opportunity to discuss with a physician important issues such as preparation for the infant and routine infant care. Lack of reimbursement for pediatric PNCV is likely to play a role in the low number of actual pediatric PNCV provided currently.
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