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Reproductive Life Planning in Primary Care: A Qualitative Study of Women Veterans' Perceptions.

Callegari LS, Borrero S, Reiber GE, Nelson KM, Zephyrin L, Sayre GG, Katon JG. Reproductive Life Planning in Primary Care: A Qualitative Study of Women Veterans' Perceptions. Women's health issues : official publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health. 2015 Sep 1; 25(5):548-54.

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BACKGROUND: Women veterans using Veterans Administration (VA) health care have high rates of medical and mental health comorbidities, placing them at increased risk of poor outcomes from unplanned pregnancy. Reproductive life planning is a strategy recommended by the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention that could promote healthy pregnancies and reduce unplanned pregnancy in the VA. However, no data exist on women veterans'' perceptions of reproductive life planning discussions. METHODS: We trained six VA primary care physicians at two VA Women''s Health Clinics to conduct reproductive life planning discussions with veterans aged 18 to 44 during primary care visits. After the visit, we performed semistructured telephone interviews with consenting veterans to explore perceptions of 1) reproductive life planning content and 2) provider-patient communication in reproductive life planning discussions. Interviews were audiorecorded, transcribed, and analyzed using content analysis. RESULTS: We interviewed 27 veterans with a mean age of 31 years (range, 22-42). Women veterans perceived generally reproductive life planning discussions as important opportunities to discuss reproductive goals with providers and to obtain new and relevant information about contraception, planning healthy pregnancies, and available VA reproductive health services. Perceptions of reproductive life planning content were influenced by women''s pregnancy intentions. Perceptions related to provider-patient communication included preferences for provider-initiated discussions and nonjudgmental counseling that incorporates patients'' values and preferences. CONCLUSIONS: Women veterans perceived reproductive life planning as valuable and important to their health. Reproductive life planning has the potential to enhance patient-centered delivery of reproductive health services in VA primary care.

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