Health‑care Providers’ Knowledge about Prenatal Screening: A Study in the North of Iran

Document Type : Original Article



Background: Prenatal screening for birth defects is turning into a main component of prenatal care. The success of prenatal screening programs greatly depends on health‑care providers’ knowledge about it. Objectives: This study aimed to assess health‑care providers’ knowledge about prenatal screening. Methods: This cross‑sectional study was conducted on June–October 2016 in Sari, a large city in the North of Iran. A sample of 472 obstetricians, general physicians, and midwives was recruited through quota and convenience sampling. Data on participants’ knowledge about prenatal screening were collected through a 35‑item self‑administered knowledge questionnaire which contained the four domains of time, technique, legal issues, and follow‑up assessment. The total score of the questionnaire could range from 0 to 35, with higher scores representing greater knowledge. Descriptive statistics measures, Mann–Whitney U‑test and Kruskal–Wallis test, Spearman’s correlation analysis, and multiple linear regression were used to analyze the data. Results: The mean score of participants’ knowledge about prenatal screening was 18.34 ± 9.34. The lowest and the highest mean scores of knowledge were obtained by obstetricians and general physicians, respectively (P < 0.001). The number of participants who correctly answered more than half of the questions of the knowledge questionnaire was 266 (56.35%) for the time domain, 259 (54.87%) for the technique domain, 237 (50.21%) for the legal issues domain, and 200 (42.37%) for the follow‑up assessment domain. Regression analysis revealed that the significant predictors of prenatal screening knowledge were participants’ profession, employment setting, and history of providing screening‑related counseling (R2 = 0.515; P < 0.001). Conclusion: Health‑care providers have limited knowledge about prenatal screening. Thus, well‑designed need‑based educational interventions are needed to fulfill their educational needs and advance their knowledge about prenatal screening.