Study shows potential positive impact of group prenatal care on birth outcomes

A recent retrospective matched cohort study of more than 9,000 pregnant women found that women who received group prenatal care had a significantly lower risk of having a preterm birth or a low birth weight baby compared with women who received individual care only, after adjusting for number of individual care visits. Women who attended five or more group prenatal care sessions experienced even greater reductions in risk for preterm birth and low birth weight, as reported in an article published in Journal of Women's Health, a peer-reviewed publication from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers.

Shayna D. Cunningham, PhD, and colleagues from Yale School of Public Health (New Haven, CT) and Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Nashville, TN) coauthored the article entitled, "Group Prenatal Care Reduces Risk of Preterm Birth and Low Birth Weight: A Matched Cohort Study." The researchers compared pregnant women with a live singleton birth who received group prenatal care to a matched sample of women who received individual care only at Vanderbilt University Medical Center from January 2009 through June 2016. For each woman, only the first birth that occurred during the study period was included.

"The findings of this study demonstrate the potential positive impact of group prenatal care attendance on birth outcomes and the importance of patient adherence," states Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women's Health and Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA. "As noted by the authors, efforts are needed to promote and support widespread adoption of group prenatal care by health systems as well as among patients and providers."

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