Integrating a Nurse-Midwife-Led Oral Health Intervention Into CenteringPregnancy Prenatal Care: Results of a Pilot Study

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National and professional organizations recommend oral health promotion in prenatal care to improve women's oral health. However, few prenatal programs include education about oral health promotion. The objective of this study was to determine if women receiving a brief, low-cost, and sustainable educational intervention entitled CenteringPregnancy Oral Health Promotion had clinically improved oral health compared to women receiving standard CenteringPregnancy care.


Women attending CenteringPregnancy, a group prenatal care model, at 4 health centers in the San Francisco Bay Area, participated in this nonrandomized controlled pilot study in 2010 to 2011. The intervention arm received the CenteringPregnancy Oral Health Promotion intervention consisting of two 15-minute skills-based educational modules addressing maternal and infant oral health, each module presented in a separate CenteringPregnancy prenatal care session. The present analysis focused on the maternal module that included facilitated discussions and skills-building activities including proper tooth brushing. The control arm received standard CenteringPregnancy prenatal care. Dental examinations and questionnaires were administered prior to and approximately 9 weeks postintervention. Primary outcomes included the Plaque Index, percent bleeding on probing, and percent of gingival pocket depths 4 mm or greater. Secondary outcomes were self-reported oral health knowledge, attitudes (importance and self-efficacy), and behaviors (tooth brushing and flossing). Regression models tested whether pre to post changes in outcomes differed between the intervention versus the control arms.


One hundred and one women participated in the study; 49 were in the intervention arm, and 52 were in the control arm. The control and intervention arms did not vary significantly at baseline. Significant pre to post differences were noted between the arms with significant improvements in the intervention arm for the Plaque Index, bleeding on probing, and pocket depths 4 mm or greater.


Providing brief oral health education and skills-building activities within prenatal care may be effective in improving women's oral health during pregnancy. These findings provide support for developing a full-scale randomized clinical trial of the CenteringPregnancy Oral Health Promotion intervention.

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