Physician perspectives on routine pregnancy intention screening and counseling in primary care



      To assess factors associated with routine pregnancy intention screening by primary care physicians and their support for such an initiative.

      Study design

      We conducted a cross-sectional survey study of 443 primary care physicians in New York State. We performed multivariable logistic regression analyses of physician support for routine pregnancy intention screening and implementation of screening in the last year. Predictors included in the models were physician age, sex, specialty, clinic setting, and, for the outcome of support for screening, experience with screening in the last year.


      In this convenience sample, the vast majority of respondents from all specialties (88%) felt pregnancy intention screening should be routinely included in primary care, with 48% reporting that they routinely perform such screening. The preferred wording for this question was one which assessed reproductive health service needs. In multivariable analyses, internal medicine physicians were less likely than family medicine physicians to have provided routine pregnancy intention screening (aOR = 0.15, 95% CI 0.09, 0.25). Only 8% of the sample reported they required more training to implement pregnancy intention screening, but more reported needing training prior to contraceptive provision (17%), contraceptive counseling (16%), and preconception care (15%). More internal medicine and other types of doctors cited a need for this additional training than family medicine physicians.


      Most responding primary care physicians supported routine integration of pregnancy intention screening. Incorporating additional training, especially for internal medicine physicians, in contraception and preconception care counseling is key to ensuring success.

      Implications statement

      Responding primary care physicians supported routine inclusion of reproductive health needs assessment in primary care. Primary care may become increasingly important for ensuring access to a full range of reproductive health services. Providing necessary training, especially for internal medicine physicians, is needed prior to routine inclusion.


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