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JAMA Netw Open


IMPORTANCE: Black pregnant people with low income face inequities in health care access and outcomes in the US, yet their voices have been largely absent from redesigning prenatal care.

OBJECTIVE: To examine patients' and health care workers' experiences with prenatal care delivery in a largely low-income Black population to inform care innovations to improve care coordination, access, quality, and outcomes.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: For this qualitative study, human-centered design-informed interviews were conducted at prenatal care clinics with 19 low-income Black patients who were currently pregnant or up to 1 year post partum and 19 health care workers (eg, physicians, nurses, and community health workers) in Detroit, Michigan, between October 14, 2019, and February 7, 2020. Questions focused on 2 human-centered design phases: observation (understanding problems from the end user's perspective) and ideation (generating novel potential solutions). Questions targeted participants' experiences with the 3 goals of prenatal care: medical care, anticipatory guidance, and social support. An eclectic analytic strategy, including inductive thematic analysis and matrix coding, was used to identify promising strategies for prenatal care redesign.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Preferences for prenatal care redesign.

RESULTS: Nineteen Black patients (mean [SD] age, 28.4 [5.9] years; 19 [100%] female; and 17 [89.5%] with public insurance) and 17 of 19 health care workers (mean [SD] age, 47.9 [15.7] years; 15 female [88.2%]; and 13 [76.5%] Black) completed the surveys. A range of health care workers were included (eg, physicians, doulas, and social workers). Although all affirmed the 3 prenatal care goals, participants reported failures and potential solutions for each area of prenatal care delivery. Themes also emerged in 2 cross-cutting areas: practitioners and care infrastructure. Participants reported that, ideally, care structure would enable strong ongoing relationships between patients and practitioners. Practitioners would coordinate all prenatal services, not just medical care. Finally, care would be tailored to individual patients by using care navigators, flexible models, and colocation of services to reduce barriers.

CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: In this qualitative study of low-income, Black pregnant people in Detroit, Michigan, and the health care workers who care for them, prenatal care delivery failed to meet many patients' needs. Participants reported that an ideal care delivery model would include comprehensive, integrated services across the health care system, expanding beyond medical care to also include patients' social needs and preferences.

Medical Subject Headings

Pregnancy; Humans; Female; Adult; Middle Aged; Male; Prenatal Care; Qualitative Research; Palliative Care; Community Health Workers; Health Services Accessibility

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