What Is Recommended for Healthy Women During Pregnancy? A Comparison of Seven Prenatal Clinical Practice Guideline Documents

Authors

  • Maggie Haertsch RN, CM, GradDipHSc,

    1. Maggie Haertsch has Academic Status, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia; Elizabeth Campbell is Evaluation Officer at Hunter Center for Health Advancement, Hunter Area Health Services, Wallsend, New South Wales; and Rob Sanson-Fisher is Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia.
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  • Elizabeth Campbell PhD,

    1. Maggie Haertsch has Academic Status, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia; Elizabeth Campbell is Evaluation Officer at Hunter Center for Health Advancement, Hunter Area Health Services, Wallsend, New South Wales; and Rob Sanson-Fisher is Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia.
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  • Rob Sanson-Fisher PhD

    1. Maggie Haertsch has Academic Status, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia; Elizabeth Campbell is Evaluation Officer at Hunter Center for Health Advancement, Hunter Area Health Services, Wallsend, New South Wales; and Rob Sanson-Fisher is Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia.
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Address correspondence to Ms. Maggie Haertsch, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia.

Abstract

Background: Several countries have developed clinical practice guidelines for the content of prenatal care. This study examines the consistency of recommendations in clinical practice guidelines describing routine prenatal care. Methods: The recommendations for low-risk women in seven guideline documents were examined: two from Australia, two from the United States, two from Canada, and one from Germany. The recommendations were listed into the four areas of “general health screening and health promotion during pregnancy,”“organization of care,”“clinical tests and screening,” and “education specific for pregnancy.”Results: A total of 69 recommendations were identified within the seven documents, most of which fell within the “clinical tests and screening” domain. Notable differences were identified in the number of recommendations made within the same country. Of the 69 recommendations, only four were included in all seven documents. Conclusion: Little consistency was demonstrated within or among countries in terms of the content of their prenatal care guidelines, suggesting a need to reexamine their content and the evidence on which such recommendations are based.

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