Open Access Open Badges Research article

Impact of prenatal care provider on the use of ancillary health services during pregnancy

Amy Metcalfe1, Kristen Grabowska2, Carol Weller3 and Suzanne C Tough4*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of British Columbia, BC Women’s and Children’s Hospital, 4500 Oak St, Vancouver, BC, V6H 3N1, Canada

2 Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of British Columbia, 13750 96 Avenue, Surrey, BC, V3V 1Z2, Canada

3 Mental Health Screening and Early Identification, Addiction & Mental Health, Alberta Health Services, 10101 Southport Road SW, Calgary, AB, Canada

4 Departments of Pediatrics and Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary Child Development Centre, c/o 2888 Shaganappi Trail NW, Calgary, AB, T3B 6A8, Canada

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BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2013, 13:62  doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-62

Published: 11 March 2013



Recent declines in the provision of prenatal care by family physicians and the integration of midwives into the Canadian health care system have led to a shift in the pattern of prenatal care provision; however it is unknown if this also impacts use of other health services during pregnancy. This study aimed to assess the impact of the type of prenatal care provider on the self-reported use of ancillary services during pregnancy.


Data for this study was obtained from the All Our Babies study, a community-based prospective cohort study of women’s experiences during pregnancy and the post-partum period. Chi-square tests and logistic regression were used to assess the association between type of prenatal care provider and use of ancillary health services in pregnancy.


During pregnancy, 85.8% of women reported accessing ancillary health services. Compared to women who received prenatal care from a family physician, women who saw a midwife were less likely to call a nurse telephone advice line (OR = 0.30, 95% CI: 0.18-0.50) and visit the emergency department (OR = 0.47, 95% CI: 0.24-0.89), but were more likely receive chiropractic care (OR = 4.07, 95% CI: 2.49-6.67). Women who received their prenatal care from an obstetrician were more likely to visit a walk-in clinic (OR = 1.51, 95% CI: 1.11-2.05) than those who were cared for by a family physician.


Prenatal care is a complex entity and referral pathways between care providers and services are not always clear. This can lead to the provision of fragmented care and create opportunities for errors and loss of information. All types of care providers have a role in addressing the full range of health needs that pregnant women experience.

Physician practice patterns; Pregnancy; Health services research