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Keywords:

  • health services accessibility;
  • prenatal care;
  • motivation;
  • access;
  • theory-oriented practice;
  • theory development

Despite the availability of services, accessing health care remains a problem in the United States and other developed countries. Prenatal care has the potential to improve perinatal outcomes and decrease health disparities, yet many women struggle with access to care. Current theories addressing access to prenatal care focus on barriers, although such knowledge is minimally useful for clinicians. We propose a middle-range theory, the motivation-facilitation theory of prenatal care access, which condenses the prenatal care access process into 2 interacting components: motivation and facilitation. Maternal motivation is the mother's desire to begin and maintain care. Facilitation represents the goal of the clinic to create easy, open access to person-centered beneficial care. This simple model directs the focus of research and change to the interface of the woman and the clinic and encourages practice-level interventions that facilitate women entering and maintaining prenatal care.