Changes in prenatal care and vaccine willingness among pregnant women during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Introduction: Concerns about SARS-CoV-2 infection risk in health care settings have resulted in changes in prenatal care and birth plans, such as shifts to in-person visits and increased Cesarean delivery. These changes may affect quality of care and limit opportunities for clinicians to counsel pregnant individuals, who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes, about prevention and vaccination. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional online survey of United States adults on changes in prenatal care, COVID-19 vaccine willingness, and reasons for unwillingness to receive a vaccine. We summarized changes in access to care and examined differences in vaccine willingness between pregnant and propensity-score matched non-pregnant controls using chi-squared tests and multivariable conditional logistic regression. Results: Between December 15–23, 2020, 8481 participants completed the survey, of which 233 were pregnant. Three-quarters of pregnant women (n = 186) experienced a change in prenatal care, including format of care (n = 84, 35%) and reduced visits (n = 69, 24%). Two-thirds experienced a change in birth plans, from a hospital birth to home birth (n = 45, 18%) or vaginal birth to a Cesarean delivery (n = 42, 17%). Although 40% of pregnant women (n = 78) were unwilling to receive COVID-19 vaccination, they had higher, though non-significant, odds of reporting willingness to receive vaccination compared to similar non-pregnant women (aOR 1.38, 95% CI: 0.95, 2.00). Conclusion: To support pregnant women through the perinatal care continuum, maternity care teams should develop protocols to foster social support, patient-centered education around infection prevention that focuses on improved risk perception, expected changes in care due to COVID-19, and vaccine effectiveness and safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number558
JournalBMC pregnancy and childbirth
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Inequity
  • Pregnancy
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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