Background: Many pregnant women in the United States do not obtain adequate prenatal care. While it is essential to provide women with access to prenatal care, access alone is insufficient to guarantee that all women will receive adequate prenatal care. Previous research has identified a number of personal and cultural barriers to prenatal care. We have integrated these barriers into an explanatory model called the Social Pregnancy Interaction Model, the centerpiece of which is the concept of a "social pregnancy identity," as distinct from the physiologic reality of pregnancy. The purpose of this study was to validate the dimensions of this model.
Methods: Based on previous qualitative work, a questionnaire was developed. It was administered by interview to a convenience sample of 287 pregnant women receiving prenatal care in 11 practices in central Missouri. Item analysis and factor analysis were used to define scales and validate the relationships predicted by the model.
Results: With some modifications, the following dimensions of the model were confirmed as distinct and significant: awareness of pregnancy, acceptance of pregnancy, self-care, communication with family, communication with partner, social attitudes toward prenatal care, and attitudes toward the health care provider.
Conclusions: The model has potential for predicting the utilization of prenatal care. The results also suggest that a woman's relationship with her prenatal care provider is important to obtaining adequate prenatal care.