Maternal Connections to General and Specialist Perinatal Care

Lead investigator

Dr. Darine El-Chaâr

The rising trend in non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as endocrine disorders, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and diabetes, m a public health priority that is increasingly affecting those of reproductive age, including women during pregnancy. Currently, one in five women in Canada do not achieve adequate prenatal care, and women with NCDs may require additional specialized care than what is required by the standard prenatal care schedule. The optimal perinatal management for women with NCDs includes adequate prenatal care, care from specialists during pregnancy, and coordinated care during the pre-conception, pregnancy and post-partum period. However, understanding and defining what is ‘appropriate’ care is complex and currently unclear. With limited evidence, there is a need to evaluate the standard prenatal care guidelines including frequency and timing of visits, review patterns of access to specialists, and evaluate multidisciplinary care health utilization for women with NCDs. Of importance, the experiences of patients with NCDs is central to understanding the barriers to care that exist and what drivers contribute to a healthy pregnancy, however, this perspective is often missing.   

This program is designed to evaluate care pathways of women with non-communicable diseases who require multidisciplinary care during pregnancy in order to identify gaps/inconsistencies in the provision of prenatal and specialist care including the social inequities perpetuating these gaps.   


  • Connection to Perinatal Care for the Management of Maternal Non-Communicable Diseases: The CONNECT Project. Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Project Grant Priority Announcement: Patient Partnership. Principal Applicant: El-Chaar D. ($100,000)(2021)