Fewer Postpartum Visits Occurred During Pandemic

Postpartum visit attendance declined by 5.8 percentage points in the first nine months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

HealthDay News — The pandemic saw declines in postpartum visit attendance, particularly among disadvantaged groups of people, according to a study published in the December issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Meghan Bellerose and Maria W. Steenland, Ph.D., both from the Brown University School of Public Health, Health Services, Policy, and Practice in Providence, Rhode Island, used data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (2016 through 2020) to examine trends in postpartum visit attendance.

The researchers found that postpartum visit attendance declined by 5.8 percentage points in the first nine months of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the greatest declines seen among non-Hispanic Black individuals (−9.9 percentage points), individuals aged 19 years and younger (−9.9 percentage points), and individuals without postpartum insurance (−11.4 percentage points).

“Our study found that groups that already faced disproportionate barriers to care — Black and Hispanic women, young women, and women without postpartum insurance coverage — experienced the greatest declines in postpartum visit attendance during the pandemic,” Bellerose said in a statement. “These are the same groups that experience higher rates of postpartum complications and maternal mortality, so it’s imperative that we understand the factors preventing them from receiving important postpartum care.”

Abstract/Full Text