Objectives: Few studies have examined factors associated with compliance with a postpartum visit (PPV). The identification of such factors is of particular importance in populations with high rates of unintended pregnancies and medical complications of pregnancy. This study seeks to determine factors associated with compliance with a PPV among low-income women in the population served by fourteen Healthy Start sites.
Methods: Data from the Healthy Start Survey of Postpartum Women were reviewed to identify variables associated with compliance with a PPV at or beyond 6 weeks. Multiple logistic regression models were created, based on a sociobehavioral model of health services use, to examine which types of factors (demographic, social, enabling or need) are most strongly associated with the use of a PPV.
Results: The study population consisted of survey respondents interviewed six weeks or more following delivery. Eighty-five percent of respondents had had a PPV at time of interview. In a multiple regression analysis, enabling factors such as multiple moves (OR (95% CI)=0.34 (0.18, 0.67)), trouble understanding the provider (OR (95% CI)=0.65 (0.43, 0.99)) and appointment reminders (OR (95% CI)=2.37 (1.40, 4.02)) were most strongly associated with a PPV.
Conclusions: This work finds that women with unstable housing, transportation barriers, and difficulties communicating with providers are at risk for not receiving a PPV. This suggests that access to postpartum health services in the Healthy Start communities studied may not be entirely equitable. Policies aimed at improving interconception care will need to address these barriers to accessing health services.