The BC Women’s Maternity Care Calendar and Genetic Screening Guidelines have been developed to better support clinicians in providing prenatal care, and as a foundation for prenatal education. Both are endorsed by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
The Maternity Care Calendar
Previous studies have shown that the traditional rotational calendar or pregnancy wheel used in doctors’ offices typically have up to a 5-day error in calculated delivery dates. The Maternity Care Calendar, on the other hand, is engineered to make sure that it can accurately measure the 280-day gestational period within a day (in non-leap years).
Another important innovation of the Maternity Care Calendar is the presentation of likelihood of delivery in the event a woman has spontaneous onset of labour. The chance of delivery at various intervals around the dates of confinement are presented, de-emphasizing the relatively unimportant statistic of the mean due date.
When set to a patient’s dates, the face of the maternity calendar provides an “at-a-glance” individualized template outlining the timing of important interventions and key issues to be addressed during the pregnancy. Care providers can photocopy the calendar, and dates can be set to serve as a guide for the patient. A second photocopy can also be placed with the patient’s chart to serve as a prompt for testing during the patient’s pregnancy, and avoid the need for repetitive date checking on the rotational calendar with each prenatal visit. Important facts can be highlighted on the calendar while unnecessary tests can be crossed off. Altogether, patients can plan important pregnancy milestones with their caregivers.
The Genetic Screening Guidelines
On the reverse side of the calendar is a guideline for genetic screening – this replaces the Maternity Care Guideline checklist provided with previous editions of the calendar. Two reference tables are now available. The first table provides the Risks of Down Syndrome and Other Chromosome Abnormalities in Live Births by Maternal Age. The second table provides a guideline for Indications, Screen Cut-Offs, and Performance of Screening Tests.
The recommended diagnostic intervention is consistent with the British Columbia Prenatal Genetic Screening Program. The information provided may vary across other provincial and international jurisdictions. Adjustments may need to be made to abide to local guidelines for use in other jurisdictions. For further information, please refer to the full Guidelines Document.
Twelve practising physicians, 12 Family Practice Residents and 10 pregnant women pilot-tested and evaluated the Maternity Care Calendar and Guidelines Checklist. Their responses were favourable.
Further information about both the Maternity Care Calendar and Maternity Care Guidelines checklist can be found in the April 1999 edition of Family Matter’s or the article published in the March 1999 edition of Canadian Family Physician. The Maternity Care Calendar and Guidelines Checklist from the March 1999 edition of Canadian Family Physician has just been added.
We hope that the providers of maternity care and their patients will find this tool helpful. We would be very pleased to receive your feedback.
*All proceeds from the sales of the Maternity Care Calendar go to support research and educational activities in the UBC Deptartment of Family Practice.