Home pregnancy tests can lead to better prenatal care

Feb 10, 2009

The simple intervention of providing women who are having unprotected sex with a home pregnancy test could have a substantial impact on the health of potential newborns, according to a Michigan State University study.

In research published this month in the February edition of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, MSU's Mary Nettleman found that significantly more women who had a home pregnancy test at home not only suspected they could be pregnant but also took tests much more frequently.

"The top reason women do not seek prenatal care is they do not realize they are pregnant," said Nettleman, chairperson of the College of Human Medicine's Department of Medicine. "In addition, women who do not realize they are pregnant will not change harmful behaviors such as drinking and smoking, which can lead to developmental problems in newborns."

Nettleman added that one of the most common reasons for unintended pregnancy is that women don't feel they are at high risk for pregnancy.

"This simple intervention - giving home pregnancy test kits to women who are having unprotected sex - was able to do what no other study has done: Influence women to be more vigilant about potential pregnancy," she said.

Participants in the study, which was funded by the Michigan Department of Community Health, were low-income, adult women who were having unprotected sex and not trying to conceive. Women in the intervention group were given free home-pregnancy tests and were able to order more kits as needed.

Women in that group suspected they might be pregnant almost twice as often as women in the control group. Once pregnancy was suspected, 93 percent of the women in the intervention group had a pregnancy test, versus 64 percent in the control group.

Another important aspect of the study is that pregnancy recognition is a powerful behavioral stimulus, Nettleman said.

"Telling a woman she is pregnant will often cause her to immediately stop or cut down on smoking, drinking and other behaviors that can hurt the baby," she said. "The problem is that many women do not recognize they are pregnant for several weeks, which is all it takes for the heart and brain to form. Earlier pregnancy recognition could have a huge impact on the health of newborns in this country."

Source: Michigan State University

Explore further: Women's faces get redder at ovulation, but human eyes can't pick up on it

Related Stories

Chemists characterize 3-D macroporous hydrogels

1 hour ago

Carnegie Mellon University chemists have developed two novel methods to characterize 3-dimensional macroporous hydrogels—materials that hold great promise for developing "smart" responsive materials that ...

Hidden cameras, invisibility cloaks in Israeli spy expo

1 hour ago

Hidden cameras, invisibility cloaks and mini-drones were among the gadgets on display Tuesday at an exhibition of Israeli surveillance technology, offering a rare peek into the secretive world of Israeli ...

Recommended for you

Running with prosthetic lower-limbs

Jun 29, 2015

Researchers at Bournemouth University have been looking at the impact of lower-limb prosthetics on competitive running, specifically looking at whether athletes with prosthesis are at an unfair advantage when running against ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.