Matern Child Health J. 2023 Oct 21. doi: 10.1007/s10995-023-03791-5. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that expectant parents receive a preventive visit with a pediatrician in the prenatal period (a pediatric prenatal visit, or PPV). Discussing newborn health topics in the prenatal period tends to be more effective than immediately postpartum, and research suggests, for example, that the PPV increases timely childhood immunizations. However, only 22% of expectant parents have these visits, and there are significant disparities by race and income.
METHODS: A 2-min online survey with open-ended questions was emailed to 304 eligible obstetrics providers in Rochester, NY. Simple descriptive statistics and chisquare analysis were applied to survey responses. Responses were organized within the framework of knowledge, attitudes, and practices to identify barriers to guideline adherence resulting in chronic under-utilization of the PPV.
RESULTS: Ninety obstetric providers completed the survey. 66 reported awareness of the PPV, and 45 reported referring patients for a PPV. However, in open-ended questions, respondents expressed confusion between the PPV and a “meet and greet” visit with a pediatrician. Some respondents believed that the PPV is not covered by insurance, even though these visits are covered by Medicaid and marketplace insurance. Providers who had personally received one as a parent expressed positive attitudes.
DISCUSSION: These findings indicate that unfamiliarity with the PPV is one barrier to referral. Educating providers about the guideline recommendations, evidence base, and insurance coverage could overcome this barrier. Doing so could reduce disparities in utilization of the pediatric prenatal visit.