A randomized controlled trial of prenatal pediatric visits for urban, low-income families

Janet R. Serwint, Modena E.H. Wilson, Judith W. Vogelhut, John T. Repke, Henry M. Seidel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background. Prenatal pediatric visits have been recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics to allow the pediatrician to counsel parents on infant care issues, establish a supportive relationship, and provide pediatric practice information to parents. We hypothesized that prenatal pediatric visits would have an impact on breastfeeding decisions, health care behaviors, health care utilization, and the doctor-patient relationship. Methods. We conducted a randomized controlled trial of prenatal pediatric visits for urban, low-income families to measure the impact on breastfeeding decisions, infant car safety seat use, circumcision, health maintenance, and emergency room visits and the pediatrician's perception that he/she would know the mother better. Pregnant women were recruited prenatally from the obstetrics clinic. Outcomes were measured by maternal interview prenatally and when the infant was 2 months old, in addition to review of the nursery record. Physicians were interviewed after the 2-month visit. Health care utilization was measured by chart review at 7 months. Results. A total of 156 pregnant women were enrolled and randomized, 81 to the intervention group and 75 to the control group. Of mothers who breastfed, 45% in the intervention group changed their mind in favor of breast-feeding after enrollment compared with 14% in the control group. Mothers in the intervention group compared with the control group were more likely to make fewer emergency room visits, 0.58 compared with 1.0. Pediatricians were more likely to think that they knew mothers in the intervention group well, 54% versus 29% in the control group, yet 67% of mothers in both groups agreed their pediatrician knew them well. There were no differences between groups in initiation or duration of breastfeeding at 30 or 60 days, infant car safety seat use, circumcision, or health maintenance visits. Conclusions. Prenatal pediatric visits have potential impact on a variety of health care outcomes. Among urban, low- income mothers, we found beneficial effects on breastfeeding decisions, a decrease in emergency department visits, and an initial impact on the doctor- patient relationship. We suggest urban practices actively promote prenatal pediatric visits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1069-1075
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 1996


  • breastfeeding
  • circumcision
  • continuity clinic
  • doctor-patient relationship
  • health service utilization
  • infant car safety seats
  • infants
  • inner-city
  • lower socioeconomic status families
  • prenatal pediatric visits

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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