HSR&D Citation Abstract
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Birru Talabi M, Clowse MEB, Blalock SJ, Hamm M, Borrero S. Perspectives of Adult Rheumatologists Regarding Family Planning Counseling and Care: A Qualitative Study. Arthritis care & research. 2020 Mar 1; 72(3):452-458.
Little is known about whether and how rheumatologists provide family planning counseling and reproductive health care (FPCC) to reproductive-age women with rheumatic diseases. This qualitative study sought to assess rheumatologists' perspectives, attitudes, and practices regarding FPCC.
Semistructured interviews were conducted with a geographically diverse US sample of rheumatologists (n = 12). Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and a code book was inductively developed based on transcript content. Two coders applied the code book to all transcripts, and coding differences were adjudicated to full agreement. The finalized coding was used to conduct a thematic analysis.
Six themes were identified across interviews. Rheumatologists said that they 1) feel responsible for providing some FPCC to patients, 2) experience tension between respecting patients' autonomy and their own anxieties about managing high-risk pregnancies, 3) view patient-initiated conversations as FPCC facilitators, and they regard lack of guidelines and the presence of competing clinical priorities as barriers to FPCC, 4) are reluctant to prescribe contraception, 5) desire greater access to resources to help guide FPCC, and 6) recognize the benefits of multidisciplinary collaboration with gynecologists.
Rheumatologists feel a sense of responsibility to provide some aspects of FPCC to reproductive-age female patients. However, their own apprehensions about managing complicated pregnancies may negatively influence how they advise patients about pregnancy planning or avoidance. Rheumatologists do not prescribe contraception but rarely refer patients to gynecologists for contraceptive care. Future work should focus on eliminating barriers and identifying solutions that support rheumatologists' efforts to provide high-quality FPCC to patients.