Immunization Education Often Overlooked During Prenatal Visits
Most obstetric and pediatric health care providers miss opportunities to counsel pregnant women about routine childhood immunizations.
Researchers developed the survey in response to increasing rates of childhood vaccination exemptions, which research data suggest is due to growing parental concerns about vaccine safety, said Ann Marie Navar, the study's lead author.
"Studies have shown that parents would like more information about vaccines and we thought the prenatal period offered a unique opportunity to give women [this information]," said Navar, a researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
The study appears in the September issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
In a 2005 telephone survey, 71 obstetric practices, 85 pediatric practices and 51 hospitals agreed to report their current efforts to educate pregnant women about routine childhood immunization.
The authors discovered that 32 percent of obstetric practices provided hepatitis B vaccine information and 23 percent provided information on other routine childhood vaccines.
However, 54 percent of obstetric practices that did not discuss immunizations did counsel patients about other child health and safety topics, such as car seats, pets and circumcision.
"I think pregnant women are generally eager to learn about child health and are a receptive audience for education and information," Navar said. "Our study suggests that the prenatal period may be a currently underutilized