The Postpartum Visit: Predictors, Disparities and Opportunities [6I]

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We determined the proportion of women receiving obstetric and non-obstetric care in the 2 months following delivery and explored whether sociodemographic, clinical or practice variables were associated with adherence to the obstetrical postpartum visit (OBPPV), hypothesizing increased visit completion among women with obstetric or medical comorbidities.


Encounter data from a large, academic institution were examined for all women who delivered from 2006–2010. Univariate and multivariable models were built to identify independent predictors of adherence to the OBPPV. Secondarily, we describe health care utilization during this period for non-obstetric visits.


Of 14,220, women, 84% completed an OBPPV. 3% of women had no OBPPV but were seen elsewhere. Independent predictors of adherence to the OBPPV include nulliparity, Asian race, Hispanic ethnicity, and care in a health center setting. Obese women were less likely to return for an OBPPV. Predictors did not differ among women with a preterm birth in the preceding pregnancy, nor did having an obstetric complication increase the likelihood of return. During the OBPPV period, 9% of women were additionally seen by primary care providers, 13% by other, non-obstetrical providers, 2% utilized the emergency department and 2% had inpatient admissions.


The most common visit in the postpartum period is the OBPPV, though many women access other care during this time. Increased BMI is associated with poorer compliance with postpartum follow-up. For women at risk of adverse obstetrical and women's health outcomes, understanding patterns of postpartum health care utilization is valuable for improving care quality and reducing inequities.

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