Prenatal health care beyond the obstetrics service: utilization and predictors of unscheduled care

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Jan;198(1):75.e1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2007.05.040.


Objective: The objective of the study was to describe the patient characteristics of prenatal care utilization within and outside of routine obstetric care, and the clinical and psychosocial factors that predict care utilization.

Study design: Four hundred twenty pregnant women enrolled in a randomized controlled trial receiving prenatal care in a university-affiliated clinic. All hospital encounters were obtained by review of computerized databases. The Kotelchuck index (KI) was computed, and the characteristics of inadequate, adequate, or excessive prenatal care were described. Demographic and psychosocial predictors of unscheduled visits were evaluated.

Results: A total of 50.5% of women were adequate users by KI, with 19% being inadequate. An average of 5 additional unscheduled encounters occurred (standard deviation 4.2; range, 0-26). Almost 75% of participants made an unscheduled obstetric visit, with 38% making 2 or more unscheduled visits. Overweight/obese, younger women, high symptom distress, and excessive and inadequate prenatal users were more likely to utilize the labor floor before delivery.

Conclusion: Unscheduled care is common during pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Appointments and Schedules*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Maternal Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obstetrics / organization & administration
  • Obstetrics / statistics & numerical data
  • Office Visits / statistics & numerical data*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Probability
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Socioeconomic Factors