Supplemental Written Information Improves Prenatal Counseling: A Randomized Trial

Pediatrics, 05/11/2012

Muthusamy AD et al. – Supplementation of face–to–face verbal counseling with written information improved knowledge of long–term problems and knowledge of numerical outcome data, and it also decreased anxiety in women expecting a premature delivery.


  • Prospective, randomized study of 60 pregnant participants assessed to be at risk for premature delivery between 23 and 34 weeks’ gestation.
  • Counseling in the control group consisted of gestational age–specific verbal information, and counseling in the intervention group consisted of written gestational age–specific information 1 hour before the verbal gestational age–specific information.
  • Both groups completed a Prematurity Knowledge Questionnaire after counseling and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory before and after counseling.
  • The Prematurity Knowledge Questionnaire consisted of questions regarding short-term problems (immature lungs, intraventricular hemorrhage, retinopathy, feeding problems, infection, apnea, and jaundice), long-term problems (chronic lung disease, postdischarge respiratory infections, visual impairment, hearing impairment, brain damage, and learning and behavior problems), and numerical outcome data (probabilities of survival, survival without significant morbidity, severe intraventricular hemorrhage, severe retinopathy, and chronic lung disease).


  • Knowledge of short-term problems was not statistically different between the intervention (82%) and control groups (67%).
  • Knowledge of long-term problems was better in the intervention (71%) than the control group (45%). Knowledge of numerical data was better in the intervention (48%) than the control group (29%).
  • State-Trait Anxiety Inventory scores decreased after counseling in the intervention group.

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