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Access to and Quality of Healthcare for Pregnant and Postpartum Women During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Brislane, Áine ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3214-6544, Larkin, Fionnuala, Jones, Helen and Davenport, Margie H. (2021) Access to and Quality of Healthcare for Pregnant and Postpartum Women During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers in Global Women's Health, 2.

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Abstract

Methods: Between May 3 and June 28, 2020, we recruited women who were pregnant or within the first 6 months after delivery to participate in an online survey. This included questions on access to obstetric healthcare (type and place of health care provider, changes to obstetric appointments/services, appointment preferences) and the Quality of Prenatal Care Questionnaire (QPCQ).

Results: Of the 917 eligible women, 612 (67%) were pregnant and 305 (33%) were in the first 6 months after delivery. Sixty-two percent (n = 571) reported that COVID-19 had affected their healthcare; appointments were rearranged, canceled or occurred via virtual means for 29% (n = 166), 29% (n = 167), and 31% (n = 175) of women, respectively. The majority preferred to physically attend appointments (74%; n = 676) and perceived the accompaniment of birth partners as important (77%; n = 471). Sixty-two percent (n = 380) were permitted a birth partner at delivery, 18% (n = 111) were unsure of the rules while 4% (n = 26) were not permitted accompaniment. During pregnancy, QPCQ was negatively associated with disruption to obstetric services including exclusion or uncertainty regarding birth partner permissions [F(7, 433) = 11.5, p < 0.001, R2 = 0.16] while QPCQ was negatively associated with inadequate breastfeeding support postpartum [F(1, 147) = 12.05, p = 0.001, R2 = 0.08].

Conclusion: Pregnant and postpartum have experienced disruption in their access to obstetric healthcare. Perceived quality of obstetric care was negatively influenced by cancellation of appointment(s), suspension of services and exclusion of birth partners at delivery. During this time, continuity of care can be fulfilled via virtual and/or phone appointments and women should receive clear guidance on changes to services including birth partner permissions to attend delivery.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fgwh.2021.628625
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
School/Department: School of Science, Technology and Health
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/5785

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