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Authors

  1. Jones, Emily J. PhD, RNC-OB, FAHA, FPCNA
  2. Hernandez, Teri L. PhD, RN
  3. Edmonds, Joyce K. PhD, MPH, RN
  4. Ferranti, Erin P. PhD, MPH, RN, FAHA

Abstract

The postpartum period represents a critical window to initiate targeted interventions to improve cardiometabolic health following pregnancies complicated by gestational diabetes mellitus and/or a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy. The purpose of this systematic review was to examine studies published since 2011 that report rates of postpartum follow-up and risk screening for women who had gestational diabetes and/or a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy and to identify disparities in care. Nine observational studies in which postpartum follow-up visits and/or screening rates were measured among US women following pregnancies complicated by gestational diabetes and/or a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy were reviewed. Rates of postpartum follow-up ranged from 5.7% to 95.4% with disparities linked to black race and Hispanic ethnicity, low level of education, and coexisting morbidities such as mental health disorders. Follow-up rates were increased if the provider was an obstetrician/endocrinologist versus primary care. Payer source was not associated with follow-up rates. The screening rate for diabetes in women who had gestational diabetes did not exceed 58% by 4 months across the studies analyzed, suggesting little improvement in the last 10 years. While women who had a hypertensive disorder appear to have had a postpartum blood pressure measured, it is unclear whether follow-up intervention occurred. Overall, postpartum screening rates for at-risk women remain suboptimal and vary substantially. Further research is warranted including reliable population-level data to inform equitable progress to meeting the evidence-informed guidelines.