A comparison of pregnancy history recall and medical records: Implications for retrospective studies

Barbara C. Tilley, Ann B. Barnes, Eric Bergstralh, Darwin Labarthe, Kenneth L. Noller, Theodore Colton, Ervin Adam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

157 Scopus citations

Abstract

Using data from the Diethylatilbestrol-Adenosis (DESAD) Project, a study of the effects of diethyletilbestrol (DES) exposure during fetal life, the authors compared prenatal records with obstetric history from mother's questionnaires completed 10 or more years after the birth of their daughters. Except for the history of hospitalization and trunk x-ray, no differences were observed in agreement (questionnaire compared with record) between the group of DES-exposed mothers identified through review of their prenatal records and the comparison group of mothers who were not exposed. The authors also compared data from mothers of DES-exposed daughters who initiated their own enrollment in the study (walk-ins and referrals). To obtain prenatal records for these women, physicians were contacted. They would usually supply drug exposure data but not the other obstetric history requested. Mothers of these walk-ins and referrals had slightly better agreement between questionnaire and records when compared with the two groups identified by review of prenatal records. In general, there was good to excellent agreement for all groups when mothers' recall of personal history (past miscarriage, past pregnancy, etc.) was compared with their medical records. However, for medical intervention such as drugs and x-rays, agreement was poor. Of the DES-exposed mothers identified through review of their prenatal records, 29% could not remember whether they took DES. An additional 8% said they did not take DES when it was recorded in their charts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-281
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Volume121
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1985

Keywords

  • Diethyistilbestrol
  • Medical records
  • Obstetrics
  • Recall

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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