Impact of COVID-19 on perinatal care: Perceptions of family physicians in the United States

Jessica Taylor Goldstein, Aimee R. Eden, Melina K. Taylor, Andrea Dotson, Tyler Barreto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Patient-centered care is the best practice in the care of pregnant and postpartum patients. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted changes in perinatal care policies, which were often reactive, resulting in unintended consequences, many of which made the delivery of patient-centered care more difficult. This study aimed to understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on perinatal health care delivery from the perspective of family physicians in the United States. Methods: From October 5 to November 4, 2020, we surveyed mid- to late-career family physicians who provide perinatal care. We conducted descriptive analyses to measure the impact of COVID-19 on prenatal care, labor and delivery, postpartum care, patient experience, and patient volume. An immersion-crystallization approach was used to analyze qualitative data provided as open-text comments. Results: Of the 1518 survey respondents, 1062 (69.8%) stated that they currently attend births; 595 of those elaborated about the impact of COVID-19 on perinatal care in free-text comments. Eight themes emerged related to the impact of COVID-19 on perinatal care: visitation, patient decisions, testing, personal protective equipment, care continuity, changes in care delivery, reassignment, and volume. The greatest perceived impact of COVID-19 was on patient experience. Conclusions: Family physicians who provided perinatal care during the COVID-19 pandemic noted a considerable impact on patient experience, which particularly affected the ability to deliver patient-centered and family-centered care. Continued research is needed to understand the long-term impact of policies affecting the delivery of patient-centered perinatal care and to inform more evidence-based, proactive policies to be implemented in future pandemic or disaster situations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBirth
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • health care delivery
  • maternity care
  • patient-centered care
  • perinatal care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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