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Family Medicine Continues to Provide Care for Pregnant Women
Study highlights regional differences and need for care coordination with multiple care providers

THURSDAY, July 18 (HealthDay News) -- The proportion of pregnant women receiving care from family medicine providers has remained steady nationally from 2000 to 2009, although regional differences are apparent, according to a study published in the July/August issue of the Annals of Family Medicine.

Katy B. Kozhimannil, Ph.D., M.P.A., from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis-St Paul, and Patricia Fontaine, M.D., from HealthPartners Institute for Education and Research in Bloomingdale, Minn., describe the proportion of family physicians providing care to pregnant women using data from the nationally representative Integrated Health Interview Series (2000 to 2009). A total of 3,204 respondents reported being pregnant at the time of the survey.

The researchers found that about one-third of pregnant women reported having seen or talked to a family physician for medical care during the previous year, and this percentage remained stable during 2000 to 2009. The majority of pregnant women reported receiving care from multiple clinician types, including family physicians, obstetrician-gynecologists, midwives, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. Regional differences were observed in the trends in family physician care; family physician care was increasingly reported by pregnant women in the North Central United States (6.7 percent annual increase), while women in the South reported a decrease (4.7 percent annual decrease; P ≥ 0.001).

"Most pregnant women reported care from multiple clinicians, highlighting the importance of care coordination for this patient population," the authors write.

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