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Am Fam Physician. 2023;107(2):187-190

This clinical content conforms to AAFP criteria for CME.

Author disclosure: No relevant financial relationships.

Key Clinical Issue

What are the risks and benefits of less frequent antenatal in-person visits vs. traditional visit schedules and televisits replacing some in-person antenatal appointments?

Evidence-Based Answer

Compared with traditional schedules of antenatal appointments, reducing the number of appointments showed no difference in gestational age at birth (mean difference = 0 days), likelihood of being small for gestational age (odds ratio [OR] = 1.08; 95% CI, 0.70 to 1.66), likelihood of a low Apgar score (mean difference = 0 at one and five minutes), likelihood of neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission (OR = 1.05; 95% CI, 0.74 to 1.50), maternal anxiety, likelihood of preterm birth (nonsignificant OR), and likelihood of low birth weight (OR = 1.02; 95% CI, 0.82 to 1.25). (Strength of Recommendation [SOR]: B, inconsistent or limited-quality patient-oriented evidence.) Studies comparing hybrid visits (i.e., televisits and in-person) with in-person visits only did not find differences in rates of preterm births (OR = 0.93; 95% CI, 0.84 to 1.03; P = .18) or rates of NICU admissions (OR = 1.02; 95% CI, 0.82 to 1.28). (SOR: B, inconsistent or limited-quality patient-oriented evidence.) There was insufficient evidence to assess other outcomes.1

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The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) conducts the Effective Health Care Program as part of its mission to produce evidence to improve health care and to make sure the evidence is understood and used. A key clinical question based on the AHRQ Effective Health Care Program systematic review of the literature is presented, followed by an evidence-based answer based on the review. AHRQ’s summary is accompanied by an interpretation by an AFP author that will help guide clinicians in making treatment decisions.

This series is coordinated by Joanna Drowos, DO, MPH, MBA, contributing editor. A collection of Implementing AHRQ Effective Health Care Reviews published in AFP is available at

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