Prenatal Screening for Sexually Transmitted Infections: Guideline Information Sources




Kinard, Ashlyn
Johnson, Kaeli
Griner, Stacey


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Purpose: Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during pregnancy can have adverse outcomes for women and neonates, including birth defects, preterm labor, and stillbirth. National guidelines from professional organizations, such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, exist and provide detailed recommendations for STI screening among pregnant patients to help prevent negative health outcomes. These recommendations evolve with developing research, and little is understood about the dissemination of updated guidelines to prenatal providers. The purpose of this study was to assess provider awareness of screening guidelines and the source of guideline knowledge. Methods: Prenatal providers (MD/DO; n=201) were recruited by a survey panel to complete an online survey. Data was collected regarding guideline awareness (Does your professional organization have recommendations or guidelines about STI screening during pregnancy? Yes/no/don't know) and the most common sources used by providers to learn about recommendations and guidelines for STI screening in pregnancy. Twelve sources were listed, including conferences, professional organizations, continuing education, journal articles, practice bulletins, and residency programs. Providers then indicated the preferred sources for the dissemination of updated guidelines. Prenatal care provider demographic information, including degree and practice setting, was collected. Univariate analyses and frequencies were calculated in SPSS. Results: Out of the prenatal providers surveyed, 96% were a Doctor of Medicine (MD) and 65% worked in a private practice setting. Overall, 88% of prenatal providers were aware of STI screening guidelines during pregnancy. Of those aware, the primary sources used to learn about these guidelines included practice bulletins (20%), professional organizations (18%), continuing education (14%), and residency programs (14%). Of those unaware (12%), the sources they would use to learn about these guidelines included practice bulletins (28%), continuing education (22%), and professional organizations (15%). All respondents indicated practice bulletins (27%), professional organizations (23%), continuing education (14%), and journal articles (10%) as sources they would like used to be notified of changes in STI screening guidelines. Conclusion/Implications: Overall, practice bulletins, professional organizations, and continuing education were the preferred sources to obtain information regarding prenatal STI screening guidelines as well as future updates to those guidelines. Similar sources were selected by both providers that were aware and those that were unaware of screening guidelines to where they do gain or would like to gain their information, respectively. This indicates a complex issue with the dissemination of prenatal STI screening guidelines, suggesting that this information reaches some prenatal providers but not all. In regard to notifying providers of changes in guidelines, journal articles emerged as an indicated source, suggesting a possible new strategy for sharing screening recommendations. Future studies should analyze the dissemination of prenatal STI screening guidelines and any subsequent changes to help improve provider awareness and increase the rate of screening.