Promoting Prenatal Care: What Do Community Leaders Know and Believe About It? (Community Leader Beliefs About Promotion)

Authors

  • Marianne E. Zotti Dr.P.H., R.N.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Marianne E. Zotti is Associate Professor and Chair, Community Health and Psychiatric/Mental Health Dept. at the College of Nursing, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
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  • Lisa A. Kozlowski M.S., R.N.

    1. Lisa A. Kozlowski is in the Peace Corps in Uganda, East Africa.
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Address correspondence to Marianne E. Zotti, Dr.P.H., 17315 Oak Forest Drive, Mabelvale, AR 72103.

Abstract

Abstract Community leaders directly affect prenatal services in their local communities. Twenty-nine leaders in an urban community and 47 in a rural community in Wisconsin were interviewed to determine their knowledge and beliefs about and intent to promote prenatal care for low-income women in their communities. The findings showed that leaders generally assigned high importance to prenatal care for low-income women and intended to promote it during the next six months; and they demonstrated good general knowledge about prenatal care and perceived broad-based community support for their decision to promote it. Disturbingly, many community leaders did not know what percentage of local pregnant women entered prenatal care late or how many medical care providers were available to their constituents on Medicaid, cost was cited as a disadvantage to promoting prenatal care for low-income women, and several leaders in both communities believed that promoting prenatal care would result in low-income women wanting to have more babies or increasing their dependence on free programs. Public health nurses can use the findings of this study in their work with community leaders to ensure prenatal services for low-income populations.

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