BMC pregnancy and childbirth 2017 09 2617(1) 325 doi 10.1186/s12884-017-1516-0
Because of the particularly severe perinatal outcomes associated with antenatal Zika virus infection, it is important for prenatal care providers to communicate Zika virus risks and strategies for prevention to their patients. Although face-to-face communication is ideal, clinic visits may not allow for in-depth discussion of all concerns. While previous studies have shown prenatal providers to be pregnant women’s most trusted sources of health information, there is little knowledge on what secondary communication modalities pregnant women prefer for receiving information from their providers about an evolving public health emergency.
A cross-sectional, descriptive anonymous 27-item survey was distributed to pregnant women at four clinics around Atlanta, Georgia from May 5th to June 20th, 2016. The survey assessed women’s interest in and communication preferences about prenatal topics, including Zika virus. Descriptive statistics were calculated and chi-square tests were used to evaluate associations between the primary outcomes and patient characteristics.
Four-hundred and eight women completed the survey. The most popular resource for obtaining Zika virus information was the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website (73.0%). While their prenatal provider’s own website for Zika information ranked 5th among sources currently accessed for Zika information, it ranked third behind educational brochures and emails for ways in which women wanted to receive information. The characteristics of Zika virus information deemed most important were: evidence-based (87.5%), endorsed by the CDC (74.1%), and endorsed by their own provider (67.9%).
In any public health emergency affecting pregnant women, women are going to seek advice from their obstetric providers. Because providers may lack sufficient time to discuss concerns with every patient, they may consider providing patient education in other ways. For the women included in this study, educational brochures, emails and providers’ own practice websites were preferred. Providers should consider taking greater advantage of these modalities to supplement in-person exchanges, particularly during a public health emergency.