[Preventive health examinations of pregnant women in Denmark. Anamnestic practice and discussion of prenatal diagnosis in early pregnancy examinations in general practice, birth clinics and birthing centers]
In Denmark, pregnant women are offered antenatal care in a nationwide programme. This programme is organized around health examinations in general practice, hospital outpatient departments and at midwives' centres. During winter 1986-1987, a nationwide investigation of antenatal care was carried out. A random sample of approximately 1/3 of the general practitioners, all of the midwives who had antenatal consultations and the medical staffs of 26 departments of obstetrics and gynaecology received a questionnaire about content of a definite antenatal examination. 62% of the general practitioners, 63% of the doctors at the place of delivery and 86% of the midwives replied. Among the pregnant women, 92% replied from general practice, 84% from hospital outpatient departments and 91% from midwives' centres. The interviews about date of delivery and genetic counselling at early visits in general practice, hospital outpatient departments and at midwives' centres were in agreement with the nationwide guidelines. Employment of routine ultrasound scanning was not associated with less detailed history taking by the doctors at hospital outpatient departments, where ultrasound scanning was employed only on special indications. It was concluded that there was a considerable overlap between the interview about the date of delivery and genetic counselling at early visits in general practice and in hospital outpatient departments and, to some extent, at the midwives' centres. The sharing of responsibility for care of pregnant women by three professional groups requires specification of the content of the consultation. Official guidelines should be more specific about this point.