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Addressing Psychosocial Determinants of Poor Birth Outcomes: Enhanced Screening in Family Medicine Obstetrics


Maternal stress is correlated with premature delivery and lower birth rate, both of which are leading causes of infant mortality. Early detection of maternal stressors should be of utmost importance, especially in communities affected by high rates of infant mortality. However, in-depth screening for these risk factors is not a part of routine prenatal care. Missing thus far is a comprehensive psychosocial screening tool that can be used in a supportive setting by skilled providers. As part of the Perinatal Patient Safety Collaborative Pilot Project, a preliminary screening tool was developed and implemented to identify many of the psychosocial risk factors implicated in poor pregnancy outcomes. This approach to screening attempts to address many of the challenges and concerns that have been identified with existing assessments and the current approach to perinatal care, all of which would benefit from focused research.