Dr. Michele Kiely, associate dean for research and a professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy and colleagues recently published an analysis of whether high-risk pregnant African American women in Washington, DC who participated in an intervention to reduce behavioral and psychosocial risks, had greater reproductive health knowledge than women receiving usual care. The results are published in Women’s Health Issues.
Washington, DC has among the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy in the United States. The study hoped that whether increasing women’s reproductive health knowledge would help to address these reproductive health issues.
This analysis used data from Project DC-HOPE, a randomized, controlled trial that included pregnant African American women in Washington, DC, recruited during prenatal care. Women in the intervention group were provided reproductive health education and received tailored counseling sessions to address their psychosocial and behavioral risk(s) (cigarette smoking, environmental tobacco smoke exposure, depression, and intimate partner violence). Women in the control group received usual prenatal care. Participants completed a 10-item reproductive knowledge assessment at baseline (n = 1,044) and postpartum (n = 830). Differences in postpartum mean total score by group were assessed via multiple linear regression.
Women in both groups and at both time points scored approximately 50 percent on the knowledge assessments. At postpartum, women in the intervention group had significantly higher total scores compared with women receiving usual care.
Although intervention participants increased reproductive health knowledge, overall scores remained low. Development of interventions designed to impart accurate, individually tailored information to women may promote reproductive health knowledge among high-risk pregnant African American women residing in Washington, DC.