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Matern Child Health J. 2012 Jan;16(1):51-9. doi: 10.1007/s10995-010-0723-3. Epub 2010 Nov 28.

Screening tests during prenatal care: does practice follow the evidence?

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Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.


To examine whether the frequency of four screening tests during prenatal care conforms to evidence of effectiveness. We estimated rates of urine culture, anemia screening, oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), and urinalysis during prenatal care. To do this, we used national probability samples of office visits to physicians (National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey) and to hospital outpatient departments (National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey) from 2001 to 2006. We compare observed rates to recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). On average, women received a urine culture in less than half of pregnancies. Women received just over one anemia screening on average per pregnancy. From 2001-2003, women received an average of 5.6 urinalyses per pregnancy; the average dropped to 4.3 urinalyses per pregnancy in 2004-2006. On average, women received just under one OGTT per pregnancy. Minorities and older women tend to get more anemia screenings, urine cultures, and OGTTs than white women and younger women. Compared to USPSTF recommendations, too few women are receiving a urine culture during prenatal care. In contrast, women receive far too many urinalyses, but the rate appears to be falling. Anemia screening conforms closely to recommendations. The USPSTF does not recommend for or against universal diabetes screening using OGTT. Women appear to receive OGTT routinely.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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