Preconception counseling: do patients learn about genetics from their obstetrician gynecologists?

Adrienne H. Mandelberger*, Jared C. Robins, John E. Buster, William C. Strohsnitter, Beth J. Plante

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this observational survey study is to assess genetic knowledge in reproductive-aged women and to determine the role played by their obstetricians in their education. Methods: A 31-item survey was distributed via an internet survey service to women between the ages of 18 and 45. The survey included subject demographics, a query regarding the source of subjects’ knowledge of genetics, and 6 question genetics quiz with 3 fundamental questions and 3 advanced questions. Subjects were divided into parous and nulliparous groups, and responses were compared using student’s t-test for continuous variables and chi square for proportions. Results: Participants included 207 parous and 221 nulliparous women. There were no differences in demographic characteristics including age and education. Parous women scored significantly higher than nulliparous women on the fundamental genetics quiz (71 vs 61 %, p = 0.03). This difference remained but was no longer significant when the 3 advanced questions were included (48 vs 42 %). Only 39 % of parous and 8 % of nulliparous subjects listed their physician as one of their main sources of genetic information. 78 % of all subjects stated that they would prefer to receive genetic information from their physicians over other sources. Conclusions: Recently parous women scored higher on a genetics assessment quiz than did their nulliparous counterparts, but the majority did not cite their obstetrician gynecologists as a main source of information. As genetic counseling and testing are becoming increasingly important aspects of obstetrical care, obstetricians should play a more substantial role in educating their patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1145-1149
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 13 2015


  • Genetic counseling
  • Genetics
  • Preconception counseling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Genetics
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Developmental Biology


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