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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Minnesota Finds Greater Access to Midwifery Care May Improve Communication between Pregnant Women and Their Health Care Providers

A University of Minnesota School of Public Health study finds pregnant women who are assigned a health care provider for their pregnancy — as opposed to selecting a care provider for themselves — have a higher chance of receiving prenatal care from a midwife. Moreover, women who have a midwife as their prenatal health care provider report having fewer communication problems than women who receive care from different types of clinicians.

[Photo: Dr. Katy Kozhimannil]

Study findings were recently published in Maternal and Child Health Journal. The study uses data from the Listening to Mothers III survey, a national sample of 2,400 women who gave birth in U.S. hospitals in 2011 and 2012.

“Good communication and informed decision-making are cornerstones of high-quality, patient-centered care,” said Dr. Katy Kozhimannil, lead author and assistant professor in the School of Public Health. “In this study, we found that women who saw a midwife for pregnancy reported that they were more likely to ask questions during their visits, had a better understanding of the medical words being used, and more often felt that their care provider spent enough time with them.”

Select key findings:

The findings are relevant to current policy discussions about improving the quality of maternity care in the United States. With nearly four million American women giving birth each year, improvements in patient-provider communication could have a major impact across the country.

Read the study: