Pregnant Women's Knowledge and Beliefs about the Safety and Outcomes of Delivery at Various Gestational Ages
19 September 2017
09 December 2017
19 January 2018 (online)
Objectives Despite the morbidity associated with late preterm and early-term births, there is limited data on pregnant women's perception of neonatal risk based on gestational age (GA). Therefore, our objective was to determine pregnant women's perception of neonatal risks at varying GAs.
Method Through an anonymous 24-question survey, pregnant women were asked to designate the GA at delivery that is desirable, safe, and defined as full term. Responses were compared based on race, history of preterm birth, and medical comorbidities.
Results Among the 233 survey respondents, the majority (62.9%) desired delivery at 36 to 39 weeks' gestation. Black women were more likely to desire delivery at 28 to 35 weeks compared with other racial/ethnic groups (p = 0.005). Women with a history of preterm birth or medical complications were less likely to desire delivery at 40 weeks. More than 40% of respondents thought delivery at 8 months of pregnancy was safe and 40.3% responded that 37 weeks' gestation is considered term.
Conclusion Misconceptions surrounding the definition of a term pregnancy are pervasive and vary by race, obstetric history, and medical comorbidities. Our findings highlight the need for patient education about appropriate gestational length, especially in minority and high-risk populations.
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