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EVIDENCE-BASED PRENATAL CARE VISITS: WHEN LESS IS MORE

Authors

  • Deborah S. Walker DNSc, CNM, CS, FNP,

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    • Deborah S. Walker is an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Nurse-Midwifery Education Program at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Dr. Walker completed her nurse-midwifery education at the University of Minnesota in 1989 and received her doctorate in nursing from UCLA in 1994. She has practiced as a CNM for 12 years, most recently at the North Campus Family Health Services in Ann Arbor. Dr. Walker's co-authors were involved in a group project she conducted, which examined midwives' use of and attitudes toward the reduced frequency prenatal visit schedule.

  • Laura McCully RN, MS,

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    • Laura McCully is a 2001 graduate of the University of Michigan's School of Nursing, Nurse-Midwifery Education Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This paper was written as part of a group master's project examining nurse-midwives' attitudes toward and use of the reduced frequency prenatal visit schedule.

  • Victoria Vest MS, CNM

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    • Victoria Vest graduated from the University of Michigan's School of Nursing, Nurse-Midwifery Education Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is currently practicing as a certified nurse-midwife at Mary's Center in Ms. Vest was a member of the master's group project that examined nurse-midwives' attitudes toward and use of the reduced frequency prenatal visit schedule.


Coordinator, Nurse-Midwifery Education Program, University of Michigan, School of Nursing, 400 North Ingalls, Room 3320, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0482.

Abstract

Traditionally, low-risk pregnant women in the United States who participate in prenatal care have been scheduled for approximately 14–16 prenatal visits, which is the schedule recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In 1989, an expert panel convened by the United States Department of Health and Human Services proposed a reduced frequency prenatal visit schedule for low-risk, healthy women based on the timing of specific tests or events that occur in pregnancy. Available evidence shows no adverse effect on maternal or neonatal outcomes for low-risk pregnant women who follow a reduced visit schedule, making it a highly important consideration for pregnant women and their health care providers. Other important aspects of prenatal care, especially related to adequacy and content, will be explored in-depth in a future segment of this series on evidence-based prenatal care.

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