Risk-guided maternity care to enhance maternal empowerment postpartum: A cluster randomized controlled trial

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ObjectiveTo investigate whether a structured inquiry during pregnancy of medical factors and social factors associated with low socioeconomic status, and subsequent patient-centred maternity care could increase maternal empowerment.DesignCluster-randomised controlled trial.SettingThis study was conducted among pregnant women in selected urban areas in the Netherlands. This study was part of the nationwide Healthy Pregnancy 4 All-2 programme.PopulationPregnant women listed at one of the sixteen participating maternity care organisations between July 1, 2015, and Dec 31, 2016.MethodsAll practices were instructed to provide a systematic risk assessment during pregnancy. Practices were randomly allocated to continue usual care (seven practices), or to provide a patient-centred, risk-guided approach to addressing any risks (nine practices) identified via the risk assessment during pregnancy.Main outcome measuresLow postpartum maternal empowerment score.ResultsWe recruited 1579 participants; 879 participants in the intervention arm, and 700 participants in the control arm. The prevalence of one or more risk factors during pregnancy was similar between the two arms: 40% and 39%, respectively. In our intention-to-treat analysis, the intervention resulted in a significant reduction in the odds of having a low empowerment score [i.e. the primary outcome; adjusted OR 0.69 ((95% CI 0.47; 0.99), P 0.046)].ConclusionsImplementation of additional risk assessment addressing both medical and social factors and subsequent tailored preventive strategies into maternity care reduced the incidence of low maternal empowerment during the postpartum period. Introducing this approach in routine maternity care may help reduce early adversity during the postpartum period.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0242187
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS One (print)
Issue number11 November
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

This study is funded by the Ministry of
Health, Welfare and Sports (grant number:
323911). JVB is funded by personal fellowships
from the Erasmus MC and the Netherlands Lung
Foundation ( The funding sources
had no role in the design of this study or its
execution, analyses, interpretation of the data, or
decision to submit results.


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