The Adequacy of Prenatal Care in Rural Kansas Related to Distance Traveled
Introduction. Prenatal care is essential for optimizing the health of a woman and her baby. Multiple factors have created barriers in the access to prenatal care in rural Kansas. Over 120 rural hospitals in the United States have closed since 2010, 5 in Kansas. Seventy-seven of the 105 Kansas counties do not have maternity care services. This study investigated differences in prenatal care received by women in rural Kansas counties related to distance traveled. Differences in timing of initiation of care, number of visits, and services received were compared between two cohorts: those who drove < 19 miles and those who drove ≥ 20 miles for prenatal care.
Methods.A survey was distributed to women who had delivered a child in the last three years in rural Kansas at participating clinics. Measures of adequacy of prenatal care were determined with questions regarding timing of first prenatal visit, number of prenatal visits, and services received at visits. An index was created using these variables and compared between the two cohorts using two-tailed t-tests for continuous data and chi square analysis for categorical data.
Results.Women who traveled ≥ 20 miles for prenatal care received statistically significant less services, and had less prenatal care visits in the second trimester and overall in their pregnancy compared to women who traveled < 19 miles for prenatal care. Rurality did not impact adequacy of prenatal care.
Conclusions.Women traveling ≥ 20 miles to receive prenatal care had significantly fewer prenatal visits during their second trimester and overall in pregnancy and self-reported less prenatal care services. These results indicated the importance of lessening barriers to prenatal care in rural Kansas, such as transportation and financial barriers.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Michael Kennedy, M.D., Kelsie Kelly, M.D., MPH, Corinna Lemke
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All articles in the Kansas Journal of Medicine are licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License (CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0).