Introduction: Vulnerable clients (i.e. clients reporting psychopathology, psychosocial problems, or substance use, and/or features of deprivation) represent a challenge in perinatal care, both in term of care process and outcome. Adhering to a structured care process (i.e. structured Antenatal Risk Management [sARM]) has shown to benefit professionals in supporting vulnerable clients, but its effect on client experiences is yet to be determined. As better processes are assumed to benefit outcome, we investigated the relationship between vulnerable clients’ experiences with antenatal care in perinatal units adhering to differing degrees of sARM. Methods: We combined data from two sources: on the client level antenatal collected survey data from which vulnerability status (Mind2Care instrument) and client experiences (ReproQ questionnaire) were derived, and on the unit level interview data from healthcare providers from which the unit degree of sARM was ascertained. Results: A total of N = 1.176 clients from N = 38 units were included in the study. Vulnerable clients with psychosocial problems reported more negative experiences than non-vulnerable clients. In high sARM units, vulnerable clients, regardless of type of problems, reported more negative experiences than non-vulnerable clients. In multiple regression analysis this effect disappeared and only vulnerability defined as psychosocial problems remained predictive for negative experiences. Conclusions: Vulnerable clients, specifically those with psychosocial problems, present a challenge in perinatal healthcare. Negative appraisal of care might be an unavoidable drawback of adhering to sARM. It also stresses the need for improving caregiver-client expectations and system side improvements.

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Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

de Groot, N., Bijma, H., Bonsel, G., & Lambregtse-van den Berg, M. (2018). The role of structured Antenatal Risk Management (sARM) on experiences with antenatal care by vulnerable clients. Midwifery, 67, 39–45. doi:10.1016/j.midw.2018.09.003