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Objective: Screening for psychosocial and behavioral risks, such as depression, intimate partner violence and smoking, during pregnancy is considered state-of-the-art in prenatal care (PNC). This prospective longitudinal analysis examines the added benefit of repeated screening over a one-time screen in identifying such risks during pregnancy.

Design: Data were collected as part of a randomized controlled trial to address intimate partner violence (IPV), depression, smoking and environmental tobacco smoke exposure (ETSE) in African-Americans women.

Setting: PNC sites in the District of Columbia serving mainly minority women

Population: 1044 African-American pregnant women in the District of Columbia

Methods: Mothers were classified by their initial response (acknowledgement of risks) and updated during pregnancy. Risks were considered new if they were not previously reported. Standard hypothesis tests and logistic regression were used to predict acknowledgment of any new risk(s) during pregnancy.

Main Outcome Measures: New risks; psychosocial variables to understand what factors might help identify acknowledgement of additional risk(s).

Results: Repeated screening identified more mothers acknowledging risk over time. Reported smoking increased by 11%, ETSE by 19%, IPV by 9%, and depression by 20%. The psychosocial variables collected at the baseline that were entered into the logistic regression model included relationship status, education, Medicaid, illicit drug use, and alcohol use during pregnancy. Among these, only education less than high school was associated in acknowledgement of new risk in the bivariate analyses and significantly predicted identification of new risks (OR=1.39, 95%CI, 1.01-1.90).

Conclusions: It is difficult early on to predict who will acknowledge new risks over the course of pregnancy, thus all women should be screened repeatedly to allow identification and intervention during PNC.


This is the accepted manuscript of the article that appeared in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

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