Impact of Provider Gender on Patient Engagement With Prenatal Mental Health Care [31K]

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Perinatal psychiatric disorders affect up to 20% of pregnant women, and are especially prevalent among women of lower socioeconomic status and women who have experienced intimate partner violence (IPV). Here we evaluate the association between provider gender and engagement with mental health care during pregnancy in a group of women seeking care at a safety net hospital.


This analysis includes retrospectively abstracted clinical data from patients referred to the Obstetrics Mental Health Clinic (OBMH) at a large urban county hospital between July 1, 2014 and September 1, 2016. The OBMH Clinic receives referrals from prenatal care providers and social workers for pregnant women with comorbid psychiatric symptoms. Included in the study were pregnant women, ages 18 and older, who had attended an OBMH intake interview. OBMH adherence was defined as attending at least one follow-up appointment during pregnancy after initial intake.


One hundred thirty-seven patients met study criteria and were included in this analysis. There was no significant difference in OBMH adherence for women seeing a male versus a female psychiatric provider for their intake interview (χ2=2.39, df=1, P=.122). Among women with a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder secondary to IPV, there was no significant association between OBMH adherence and provider gender (χ2=.084, df=1, P=.77).


Provider gender is not a statistically significant predictor of adherence to OB mental health care. Findings suggest that women could benefit from longitudinal prenatal mental healthcare regardless of the gender of their mental health care provider.

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