Barriers and facilitators to dental care during pregnancy: a systematic review and meta-synthesis of qualitative studies

Barreiras e facilitadores para os cuidados de saúde bucal durante a gravidez: uma revisão sistemática e meta-síntese de estudos qualitativos

Barreras y facilitadores para el cuidado dental durante el embarazo: una revisión sistemática y metasíntesis de estudios cualitativos

Juliana Schaia Rocha Letícia Arima Ana Cláudia Chibinski Renata Iani Werneck Samuel Jorge Moysés Márcia Helena Baldani About the authors

Abstracts

Some barriers to dental treatment during pregnancy are poorly understood, especially those related to psychosocial factors, which are better explored in qualitative studies. The aim of this systematic review was to explore the barriers and facilitators to dental care during pregnancy through a thematic synthesis of qualitative studies. Qualitative or mixed-methods studies published in English, Portuguese, Spanish and French, from 2000 to 2016, were included. The search strategies were conducted in PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, LILACS, BBO and CINAHL. To evaluate the quality of the studies, we used the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme tool. Thematic synthesis was performed in order to interpret and summarize the results. From 2,581 screened studies, ten were included in the synthesis. We found 14 analytical themes related to barriers and facilitators to dental care during pregnancy that interacted in complex ways: physiological conditions, low importance of oral health, negative stigma regarding dentistry, fear of/anxiety toward dental treatment, mobility and safety, financial barriers, employment, time constraints, social support, lack of information, health professionals’ barriers, family and friends’ advice, beliefs and myths about the safety of dental treatment. Myths and beliefs about oral health and dental treatment during pregnancy appear to be the most frequent barriers, both to pregnant women and to dentists or other health professionals. The findings of this review may support new studies, especially to test intervention protocols and to guide effective public policies for the promotion of oral health during pregnancy.

Keywords:
Pregnancy; Oral Health Services; Oral Health; Qualitative Research


Algumas barreiras aos cuidados de saúde bucal durante a gravidez são mal compreendidas, principalmente aquelas relacionadas a fatores psicossociais, que são exploradas melhor com estudos qualitativos. Esta revisão sistemática teve como objetivo explorar as barreiras e facilitadores dos cuidados odontológicos durante a gravidez, através de uma síntese temática de estudos qualitativos. Foram incluídos estudos qualitativos ou de métodos mistos, publicados em inglês, português, espanhol ou francês entre 2000 e 2016. As buscas foram realizadas nas bases PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, LILACS, BBO e CINAHL. Para avaliar a qualidade dos estudos, usamos a ferramenta Critical Appraisal Skills Programme. A síntese temática teve como objetivo interpretar e resumir os resultados. Entre os 2.581 estudos identificados, dez foram incluídos na síntese. Encontramos 14 temas analíticos relacionados a barreiras e facilitadores dos cuidados odontológicos na gravidez, e que interagiram de maneira complexa: condições fisiológicas, baixa importância atribuída à saúde oral, estigma negativo em relação à odontologia, medo ou ansiedade frente ao tratamento dentário, mobilidade e segurança, barreiras financeiras, emprego, limitações de tempo, apoio social, falta de informação, barreiras produzidas pelo profissional de saúde e conselhos de amigos e familiares, além de crenças e mitos sobre a segurança do tratamento dentário. Os mitos e crenças sobre a saúde oral e o tratamento dentário durante a gravidez parecem ser as barreiras mais importantes, tanto para as gestantes quanto para os odontólogos e outros profissionais de saúde. Os achados da revisão podem apoiar novos estudos, principalmente para testar protocolos de intervenção e orientar políticas públicas efetivas para a promoção da saúde oral durante a gravidez.

Palavras-chave:
Gravidez; Serviços de Saúde Bucal; Saúde Bucal; Pesquisa Qualitativa


Algunas barreras al tratamiento dental durante el embarazo no se han entendido adecuadamente, especialmente aquellas relacionadas con factores psicosociales, que están mejor examinados en estudios cualitativos. El objetivo de esta revisión sistemática fue examinar las barreras y facilitadores para el cuidado dental durante el embarazo, a través de una síntesis temática de estudios cualitativos. Se incluyeron métodos cualitativos, o estudios de métodos mixtos, publicados en inglés, portugués, español y francés, desde el 2000 al 2016. La búsqueda de estrategias se realizó en PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, LILACS, BBO y CINAHL. Con el fin de evaluar la calidad de los estudios, usamos la herramienta Critical Appraisal Skills Programme. Se realizó la síntesis temática para interpretar y resumir los resultados. De los 2.581 estudios seleccionados, diez fueron incluidos en la síntesis. Encontramos 14 temas analíticos, relacionados con barreras y facilitadores para la atención dental durante el embarazo, que interactuaron de forma compleja: condiciones fisiológicas, baja importancia de la salud oral, estigma negativo referente a la odontología, miedo/ ansiedad al tratamiento dental, movilidad y seguridad, barreras financieras, empleo, restricciones de tiempo, apoyo social, falta de información, barreras a la salud profesional, consejo de familia y amigos, creencias y mitos sobre la seguridad del tratamiento dental. Mitos y creencias sobre la salud oral y el tratamiento dental durante el embarazo parecen ser las barreras más frecuentes, tanto en el caso de las mujeres embarazadas, como en el caso de dentistas y otros profesionales de salud. Los hallazgos de esta revisión tal vez susciten nuevos estudios, especialmente para probar protocolos de intervención y guiar políticas públicas efectivas, orientadas a la promoción de la salud oral durante el embarazo.

Palabras-clave:
Embarazo; Servicios de Salud Dental; Salud Bucal; Investigación Cualitativa


Introduction

Dental treatment during pregnancy has been recommended by systematic reviews and several institutions, with guidelines on oral health care during pregnancy being widely available 11. CDA Foundation. Oral health during pregnancy and early childhood: evidence-based guidelines for health professionals. Sacramento: CDA Foundation; 2010.,22. Shessel BA, Portnof JE, Kaltman SI, Nitsch R. Dental treatment of the pregnant patient: literature review and guidelines for the practicing clinician. Todays FDA 2013; 25:26-9.,33. Superintendência de Assistência à Saúde; Secretaria de Estado da Saúde do Paraná. Linha guia de saúde bucal. Curitiba: Secretaria de Estado da Saúde do Paraná; 2014.,44. Michalowicz BS, Gustafsson A, Thumbigere-Math V, Buhlin K. The effects of periodontal treatment on pregnancy outcomes. J Periodontol 2013; 84(4 Suppl):S195-208.. Such recommendations are important to assure women’s well-being during their lifetime 55. Acharya S, Bhat PV. Factors affecting oral health-related quality of life among pregnant women. Int J Dent Hyg 2009; 7:102-7.,66. de Oliveira BH, Nadanovsky P. The impact of oral pain on quality of life during pregnancy in low-income Brazilian women. J Orofac Pain 2006; 20:297-305. and to control the changes that occur in their oral health during pregnancy, since this condition can increase the prevalence of oral diseases 77. Krüger MSM, Lang CA, Almeida LHS, Bello-Corrêa FO, Romano AR, Pappen FG. Dental pain and associated factors among pregnant women: an observational study. Matern Child Health J 2015; 19:504-10.,88. Singhal A, Chattopadhyay A, Garcia AI, Adams AB, Cheng D. Disparities in unmet dental need and dental care received by pregnant women in Maryland. Matern Child Health J 2014; 18:1658-66.. It is also relevant to determine the relationship between pregnant women’s oral health and negative outcomes that can occur during and after delivery 99. Shanthi V, Vanka A, Bhambal A, Saxena V, Saxena S, Kumar SS. Association of pregnant women periodontal status to preterm and low-birth weight babies: a systematic and evidence-based review. Dent Res J 2012; 9:368-80.,1010. Sitholimela C, Shangase L. The association between periodontitis and pre-term birth and/or low birth weight: a literature review. SADJ 2013; 68:162-6.. Moreover, pregnancy is considered an ideal time to establish educational and preventive programs, as pregnant women are more receptive to information about themselves and their babies’ wellbeing and to adopt better health practices 1111. Czeresnia D. The concept of health and the difference between prevention and promotion. Cad Saúde Pública 1999; 15:701-9..

Some studies have shown that the demand for dental services is low during pregnancy, regardless of the country of origin. The utilization of dental care reported ranged from 27 to 53% 88. Singhal A, Chattopadhyay A, Garcia AI, Adams AB, Cheng D. Disparities in unmet dental need and dental care received by pregnant women in Maryland. Matern Child Health J 2014; 18:1658-66.,1212. Dinas K, Achyropoulos V, Hatzipantelis E, Mavromatidis G, Zepiridis L, Theodoridis T, et al. Pregnancy and oral health: utilisation of dental services during pregnancy in northern Greece. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2007; 86:938-44.,1313. Saddki N, Yusoff A, Hwang YL. Factors associated with dental visit and barriers to utilisation of oral health care services in a sample of antenatal mothers in Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia. BMC Public Health 2010; 10:75.,1414. Amin M, ElSalhy M. Factors affecting utilization of dental services during pregnancy. J Periodontol 2014; 85:1712-21.,1515. Marchi KS, Fisher-Owens SA, Weintraub JA, Zhiwei YU, Braveman PA. Most pregnant women in California do not receive dental care: findings from a population-based study. Public Health Rep 2010; 125:831-42.. The main reason for seeking attendance was related to dental pain (72.2%) 1616. Vergnes JN1, Pastor-Harper D, Constantin D, Bedos C, Kaminski M, Nabet C, et al. Santé bucco-dentaire perçue et recours aux soins pendant la grossesse: étude MaterniDent. Santé Publique 2013; 25:281-92.. Studies have found multiple factors influencing the use of dental services for pregnant women: marital status 1717. Al-Habashneh R, Guthmiller JM, Levy S, Johnson GK, Squier C, Dawson DV, et al. Factors related to utilization of dental services during pregnancy. J Clin Periodontol 2005; 32:815-21., ethnicity 88. Singhal A, Chattopadhyay A, Garcia AI, Adams AB, Cheng D. Disparities in unmet dental need and dental care received by pregnant women in Maryland. Matern Child Health J 2014; 18:1658-66.,1515. Marchi KS, Fisher-Owens SA, Weintraub JA, Zhiwei YU, Braveman PA. Most pregnant women in California do not receive dental care: findings from a population-based study. Public Health Rep 2010; 125:831-42., income, education level 1818. Thompson TA, Cheng D, Strobino D. Dental cleaning before and during pregnancy among Maryland mothers. Matern Child Health J 2013; 17:110-8., health insurance 1414. Amin M, ElSalhy M. Factors affecting utilization of dental services during pregnancy. J Periodontol 2014; 85:1712-21.,1717. Al-Habashneh R, Guthmiller JM, Levy S, Johnson GK, Squier C, Dawson DV, et al. Factors related to utilization of dental services during pregnancy. J Clin Periodontol 2005; 32:815-21., receipt of oral health education and hygiene practices 88. Singhal A, Chattopadhyay A, Garcia AI, Adams AB, Cheng D. Disparities in unmet dental need and dental care received by pregnant women in Maryland. Matern Child Health J 2014; 18:1658-66.,1313. Saddki N, Yusoff A, Hwang YL. Factors associated with dental visit and barriers to utilisation of oral health care services in a sample of antenatal mothers in Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia. BMC Public Health 2010; 10:75.,1616. Vergnes JN1, Pastor-Harper D, Constantin D, Bedos C, Kaminski M, Nabet C, et al. Santé bucco-dentaire perçue et recours aux soins pendant la grossesse: étude MaterniDent. Santé Publique 2013; 25:281-92.,1818. Thompson TA, Cheng D, Strobino D. Dental cleaning before and during pregnancy among Maryland mothers. Matern Child Health J 2013; 17:110-8., enrollment in governmental programs 88. Singhal A, Chattopadhyay A, Garcia AI, Adams AB, Cheng D. Disparities in unmet dental need and dental care received by pregnant women in Maryland. Matern Child Health J 2014; 18:1658-66., medical referral or advice for dental visits 1919. Corchuelo-Ojeda J, González Pérez GJ. Determinantes socioeconómicos de la atención odontológica durante la gestación en Cali, Colombia. Cad Saúde Pública 2014; 30:2209-18..

Some of the barriers to the utilization of oral health care services described are misconception, dental fear, difficulty of access to dental treatment, time constraints, dissatisfaction with the quality of services, and beliefs that dental treatment is unsafe 1212. Dinas K, Achyropoulos V, Hatzipantelis E, Mavromatidis G, Zepiridis L, Theodoridis T, et al. Pregnancy and oral health: utilisation of dental services during pregnancy in northern Greece. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2007; 86:938-44.,1313. Saddki N, Yusoff A, Hwang YL. Factors associated with dental visit and barriers to utilisation of oral health care services in a sample of antenatal mothers in Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia. BMC Public Health 2010; 10:75.. Most of them are poorly explored in quantitative studies, according to a recent systematic review 2020. Rocha JS, Arima LY, Werneck RI, Moysés SJ, Baldani MH. Determinants of dental care attendance during pregnancy: a systematic review. Caries Res 2018; 52:139-52.. Furthermore, the findings of this systematic review suggest that it is still necessary to better understand the role of psychosocial factors in the use of dental services by pregnant women. Due to its nature, qualitative studies are better able to explore such questions and study those factors in depth, especially psychological 2121. Bardin L. Content analysis. São Paulo: Editora Martins Fontes; 1977..

Therefore, the aim of this systematic review was to explore the barriers and facilitators to dental care during pregnancy through a thematic synthesis of qualitative studies.

Methods

This systematic review was conducted based on the Preferred Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Statement (PRISMA) 2222. Moher D, Shamseer L, Clarke M, Ghersi D, Liberati A, Petticrew M, et al. Preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis protocols (PRISMA-P) 2015 statement. Syst Rev 2015; 4:1. and the Enhancing Transparency in Reporting the Synthesis of Qualitative Research checklist (ENTREQ) 2323. Tong A, Flemming K, McInnes E, Oliver S, Craig J. Enhancing transparency in reporting the synthesis of qualitative research: ENTREQ. BMC Med Res Methodol 2012; 12:181..

A synthesis of qualitative studies exploring women’s barriers and facilitators to use dental services during pregnancy was conducted using thematic synthesis according to the guidelines proposed by Thomas & Harden 2424. Thomas J, Harden A. Methods for the thematic synthesis of qualitative research in systematic reviews. BMC Med Res Methodol 2008; 8:45. and recommended by the Cochrane Qualitative Review Methods Group 2525. Noyes J, Popay J, Pearson A, Hannes K. 20 qualitative research and Cochrane reviews. In: Higgins JPT, Green S, editors. Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of interventions. http://handbook-5-1.cochrane.org/.
http://handbook-5-1.cochrane.org/...
. Thematic synthesis combines and adapts approaches from both meta-ethnography and grounded theoretical findings, in order to integrate and interpret results from different studies. It is appropriate for situations where evidence is likely to be largely descriptive 2424. Thomas J, Harden A. Methods for the thematic synthesis of qualitative research in systematic reviews. BMC Med Res Methodol 2008; 8:45.,2626. Barnett-Page E, Thomas J. Methods for the synthesis of qualitative research: a critical review. BMC Med Res Methodol 2009; 9:59..

From the studies chosen, only results regarding barriers and facilitators to the use of services based on women’s perceptions were considered, results including only the perception of health professionals or other people involved were excluded from the analysis. We also excluded the results that were not within the objectives of this review, for example, items referring to knowledge about the babies’ oral health care.

Eligibility criteria

Studies were included if they: (1) involved qualitative or mixed-method designs; (2) addressed the perceptions of pregnant women regarding the use of dental services during pregnancy, identifying their barriers and facilitators; (3) were published from 2000 to 2016; (4) were written in English, Portuguese, Spanish or French.

The exclusion criteria were: (1) lack of primary data (policy briefs, opinions, progress reports, systematic reviews); (2) studies that identified barriers through health professionals such as doctors, dentists or nurses; (3) grey literature (i.e., unpublished or non-peer-reviewed reports, including conference proceedings).

Identification and selection of studies

The search strategy was pre-planned 2323. Tong A, Flemming K, McInnes E, Oliver S, Craig J. Enhancing transparency in reporting the synthesis of qualitative research: ENTREQ. BMC Med Res Methodol 2012; 12:181. in order to seek all available studies on the topic, similarly to Rocha et al. 2020. Rocha JS, Arima LY, Werneck RI, Moysés SJ, Baldani MH. Determinants of dental care attendance during pregnancy: a systematic review. Caries Res 2018; 52:139-52. (Box 1). We searched on the following databases: PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature database (LILACS), Brazilian Library in Dentistry (BBO) and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL, via EBSCO). The search terms were adapted to suit indexes in each database. Studies with quantitative design were set apart for specific data treatment and were described elsewhere 2020. Rocha JS, Arima LY, Werneck RI, Moysés SJ, Baldani MH. Determinants of dental care attendance during pregnancy: a systematic review. Caries Res 2018; 52:139-52.. For this review, studies with qualitative or mixed-method designs were considered.

Box 1
Electronic database and search strategy.

The resulting papers were imported into a reference manager software (Endnote X5; https://endnote.com/, Philadelphia, United States). Duplicates were removed, and an initial screening of titles and abstracts was carried out by two independent reviewers (J.S.R. and L.A.), according to the inclusion/exclusion criteria. Texts of the remaining studies in full were obtained for analysis, aiming to include/exclude the paper for the systematic review. Discrepancies in the final decision about a specific paper were discussed with a third reviewer (R.I.W.) in order to reach consensus. The selection of the studies was summarized in a PRISMA compliant flow chart (Figure 1).

Figure 1
Flow diagram of study selection.

Critical appraisal of studies included

The quality of the studies was critically evaluated for rigor, credibility and relevance, using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) tool for qualitative research 2727. Hannes K. Critical appraisal of qualitative research. In: Noyes J, Booth A, Hannes K, Harden A, Harris J, Lewin S, et al, editors. Supplementary guidance for inclusion of qualitative research in Cochrane systematic reviews of interventions. Version 1 (updated August 2011). http://cqrmg.cochrane.org/supplemental-handbook-guidance.
http://cqrmg.cochrane.org/supplemental-h...
, as recommended in the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) guidelines 2828. Centre for Reviews and Disseminations, University of York. Systematic reviews: CRD's guidance for undertaking reviews in health care. Heslington: Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York; 2009.. CASP was applied independently by three reviewers (J.S.R., L.A., A.C.C.). Disagreements were resolved by means of a discussion with a fourth reviewer (M.H.B.).

The papers were scored in each criterion as: 1 - if the criterion was met; 0 - if the criterion was not met; 0.5 - if the criterion was partially met 2929. Notley C, Blyth A, Craig J, Edwards A, Holland R. Postpartum smoking relapse: a thematic synthesis of qualitative studies. Addiction 2015; 110:1712-23.. The maximum score for a paper was 10. CASP assessment was conducted to ensure transparency in the potential risk of bias, studies were included in the review regardless of quality score 2727. Hannes K. Critical appraisal of qualitative research. In: Noyes J, Booth A, Hannes K, Harden A, Harris J, Lewin S, et al, editors. Supplementary guidance for inclusion of qualitative research in Cochrane systematic reviews of interventions. Version 1 (updated August 2011). http://cqrmg.cochrane.org/supplemental-handbook-guidance.
http://cqrmg.cochrane.org/supplemental-h...
.

Data extraction and analysis

The data were obtained by using customized extraction forms. The following information was recorded for each study included: (a) authorship and year of publication; (b) country; (c) participants’ characteristics; (d) setting; (e) objectives; (f) methodological design; (g) data collection/analysis; (h) quality score (CASP).

Synthesis was carried out in three stages according to Thomas & Harden’s 2424. Thomas J, Harden A. Methods for the thematic synthesis of qualitative research in systematic reviews. BMC Med Res Methodol 2008; 8:45. guidelines: (1) the free line-by-line coding of the findings of primary studies; (2) the organization of these “free codes” into related areas to construct “descriptive” themes; and (3) the development of “analytical” themes.

In the first stage, full texts of each selected study were scrutinized and freely coded line-by-line. All the original codes, cited in the papers, were listed. Relevant additional codes, when identified by reviewers, were also included in the analysis.

In the second stage of the analysis, the free codes were organized under initial descriptive themes, based on their similarities and differences, according to the barriers and facilitators to the use of dental services during pregnancy. These themes were interactively defined through discussion between the reviewers (J.S.R., L.A., A.C.C.). This qualitative synthesis summarized the literature available and created an analytical typology of findings as well as a descriptive-themed diagram that summarized the barriers and facilitators to the use dental services during pregnancy, which were closely related, graphically represented through the application Corel Draw version X7 (Corel, Ottawa, Canada).

The third stage involved developing “analytical themes” through new interpretative constructs that synthesized the findings across all the studies included.

Results

Study characteristics

The complete search trajectory is shown in Figure 1. After the removal of the duplicates, 2,581 titles remained; 96 texts in full were retrieved and 10 papers were included. The reasons for these article exclusions were: (a) quantitative studies; (b) not suitable for the purposes of this study; (c) thesis; (d) impossible to distinguish the perception of the pregnant women from other people’s perceptions 3030. Murphey CL. Exploring oral health among pregnant and parenting adolescent women: a mixed methods study [Masters Thesis]. Austin: University of Texas at Austin; 2010.. Table 1 describes the characteristics of the papers included. The methodological design of two papers was that of mixed-methods 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31. and the remaining were qualitative-only. The majority of the studies were from Brazil (n = 6) 3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3434. Finkler M, Oleiniski DMB, Ramos FRS. Saúde bucal materno-infantil: um estudo de representações sociais com gestantes. Texto Contexto Enferm 2004; 13:360-8.,3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.,3636. Codato LAB, Nakama L, Cordoni Júnior L, Higasi MS. Atenção odontológica à gestante: papel dos profissionais de saúde. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2011; 16:2297-301.,3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21.; two were from the United States 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52., one from Colombia 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. and one from Australia 4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96.. Only one used focus group as a data collection source 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.. Most studies were considered as having a high quality score, according to the CASP 2727. Hannes K. Critical appraisal of qualitative research. In: Noyes J, Booth A, Hannes K, Harden A, Harris J, Lewin S, et al, editors. Supplementary guidance for inclusion of qualitative research in Cochrane systematic reviews of interventions. Version 1 (updated August 2011). http://cqrmg.cochrane.org/supplemental-handbook-guidance.
http://cqrmg.cochrane.org/supplemental-h...
. The studies generally met the CASP tool criteria in terms of clarity of research, aims, appropriateness of design 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3434. Finkler M, Oleiniski DMB, Ramos FRS. Saúde bucal materno-infantil: um estudo de representações sociais com gestantes. Texto Contexto Enferm 2004; 13:360-8.,3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.,3636. Codato LAB, Nakama L, Cordoni Júnior L, Higasi MS. Atenção odontológica à gestante: papel dos profissionais de saúde. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2011; 16:2297-301.,3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96., recruitment 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3434. Finkler M, Oleiniski DMB, Ramos FRS. Saúde bucal materno-infantil: um estudo de representações sociais com gestantes. Texto Contexto Enferm 2004; 13:360-8.,3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.,3636. Codato LAB, Nakama L, Cordoni Júnior L, Higasi MS. Atenção odontológica à gestante: papel dos profissionais de saúde. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2011; 16:2297-301.,3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96., data collection 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3434. Finkler M, Oleiniski DMB, Ramos FRS. Saúde bucal materno-infantil: um estudo de representações sociais com gestantes. Texto Contexto Enferm 2004; 13:360-8.,3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.,3636. Codato LAB, Nakama L, Cordoni Júnior L, Higasi MS. Atenção odontológica à gestante: papel dos profissionais de saúde. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2011; 16:2297-301.,3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96., and analysis and reporting of findings 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3434. Finkler M, Oleiniski DMB, Ramos FRS. Saúde bucal materno-infantil: um estudo de representações sociais com gestantes. Texto Contexto Enferm 2004; 13:360-8.,3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.,3636. Codato LAB, Nakama L, Cordoni Júnior L, Higasi MS. Atenção odontológica à gestante: papel dos profissionais de saúde. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2011; 16:2297-301.,3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96.. The relationship between the researcher and the participants was described in only one of them 3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.. One study 3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31. achieved low score and was considered as having low quality for the reviewers. It presented poor methodological and interpretative descriptions in the qualitative approach (quality score = 5), and their findings were confirmed by other studies. Two of the studies included were conducted by the same group of researchers 3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.,3636. Codato LAB, Nakama L, Cordoni Júnior L, Higasi MS. Atenção odontológica à gestante: papel dos profissionais de saúde. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2011; 16:2297-301. and used the same database as one of the authors’ thesis. The major problem in the quality of the studies was related to the relationship between researcher and participants, and the influence of the researcher during the formulation of the research questions should be considered when regarding data collection, including sample recruitment and choice of location (Table 2).

Table 1
Summary of characteristics of the studies included in this systematic review.
Table 2
Score of the evaluated papers item by item for Critical Appraisal Skill Programme (CASP).

Synthesis

Most studies (n = 9) 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.,3636. Codato LAB, Nakama L, Cordoni Júnior L, Higasi MS. Atenção odontológica à gestante: papel dos profissionais de saúde. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2011; 16:2297-301.,3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96. reported themes supported by comments from participants, except one 3434. Finkler M, Oleiniski DMB, Ramos FRS. Saúde bucal materno-infantil: um estudo de representações sociais com gestantes. Texto Contexto Enferm 2004; 13:360-8.. In total, 186 first-level codes were identified as barriers and 33 as facilitators.

The codes were organized into 14 analytical themes, which encompassed 38 interpretative codes as barriers and 9 as facilitator factors. A coding diagram (Figure 2) was used to illustrate the frequency of each reporting category, represented by the area size of the figures, taken as a relevance marker of the coding categories, based on the methodology used by Notley et al. 2929. Notley C, Blyth A, Craig J, Edwards A, Holland R. Postpartum smoking relapse: a thematic synthesis of qualitative studies. Addiction 2015; 110:1712-23.. The circles represent barriers, and the diamonds, facilitators. Each geometric figure represents an interpretative code and the colors represent the themes. The figures overlap when codes are related.

Figure 2
Graphical representation of the amount of original studies that reported each interpretative code.

The themes identified as barriers in this review were the following: physiological conditions, low importance of oral health, negative stigma regarding dentistry, fear of/anxiety towards dental treatment, mobility and safety, financial barriers, employment, time constraints, social support, lack of information, health professionals’ barriers, family and friend’s advice, beliefs and myths about the safety of dental treatment (circles - Figure 2).

The facilitator codes identified were related to the minimization of the following barriers: physiological condition, low importance of oral health, fear of/anxiety towards dental treatment, financial barriers, lack of information, and beliefs or myths regarding dental treatment safety (diamonds - Figure 2).

Physiological conditions

Accepting oral problems as inherent physiological conditions of pregnancy becomes a barrier to seeking dental care during pregnancy. The conditions that were perceived as inherent outcomes and became barriers to the utilization of dental services were: “dental decay/loss of teeth” (5 references) 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96., “toothache” (4 references) 3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96., “gingival bleeding” (2 references) 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96., “physical/ psychological limitation” (3 references) 3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3434. Finkler M, Oleiniski DMB, Ramos FRS. Saúde bucal materno-infantil: um estudo de representações sociais com gestantes. Texto Contexto Enferm 2004; 13:360-8.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52..

Pregnant women associate “dental decay and loss of teeth” 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96. with the loss of calcium during the formation of the baby, which would make teeth weaker, susceptible to decay and breakage, as related below:

I lost my teeth because of pregnancy... They broke ... It's lack of calcium because the baby is feeding and taking the calcium from me...3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. (p. 285).

Moreover, other problems such as gum bleeding 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96. and tooth pain 3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96. are considered common during pregnancy:

My gums do bleed when I do brush but when you read it, yeah, that is part of pregnancy and stuff. I didn’t go rushing to the doctor’s and say why are my gums bleeding. I just deal with it4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96. (p. 1091).

Regarding “physical and psychological limitations”, the arguments for not going to dentist appointments were the discomfort during pregnancy, related to the position of the chair 3434. Finkler M, Oleiniski DMB, Ramos FRS. Saúde bucal materno-infantil: um estudo de representações sociais com gestantes. Texto Contexto Enferm 2004; 13:360-8., physical indisposition 3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52., nausea 3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31., and mood swings 3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.. Le et al. 3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52. called these “determinant internal causes” - stress-related issues. Therefore, dental treatment can cause discomfort, either during the treatment itself or due to the position of the pregnant woman, becoming a barrier to the use of dental services during pregnancy.

I could not put anything in my mouth, without any chance3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31. (p. 129).

Low importance of oral health

This theme was identified as a barrier in dental care during pregnancy. Low perception of need for treatment, little importance given to oral health, and low priority of dental needs affect the demand for dental care 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96.. Low concern along with lack of interest, laziness and forgetfullness 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96. result in not seeking care 3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96. and worsening of oral problems 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.. Also related to this topic is that, when oral health is not considered relevant, there is low priority in seeking dental care, resulting in the treatment being often postponed.

No, there’s a reason for why I never went. It was just... I never made an appointment to go3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24. (p. 321).

I postponed, I postponed, I put one thing, another [on the tooth], then I felt such a toothache that I nearly went crazy3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96. (p. 791).

On the other hand, some facilitators were related to this theme. Oral health perception 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. can facilitate the use of dental services by reducing/eliminating barriers: physiological conditions. According to Concha-Sanchéz 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91., pregnant women who perceive a higher frequency of bleeding gums during brushing tend to seek dental practice more frequently.

Other facilitators were related to the elimination of the barrier “little importance given to oral health”: women who had good oral health habits since childhood reported continuing care during pregnancy 3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.. Also related to this, pregnant women who had more knowledge about oral health tended to value dental visits, both for themselves and for their children 3434. Finkler M, Oleiniski DMB, Ramos FRS. Saúde bucal materno-infantil: um estudo de representações sociais com gestantes. Texto Contexto Enferm 2004; 13:360-8.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52..

Negative stigma regarding dentistry

The following codes were found in this theme: “professional-patient relationship” (2 references) 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96. and “clinical procedure devaluation” (2 references) 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96.. Regarding “professional-patient relationship”, the situations that can disrupt the relationship between the dentist and the pregnant women were: disliking the dentist, shame of own oral condition and fear of criticism on the part of the dentist:

I get scared when they make faces, but they don’t know what really happened with us and [then] say a lot of things3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96. (p. 792).

In the following sentence, the dentist was compared to the physician, demonstrating the pregnant woman’s lack of confidence in the professional:

Everything that passes into her passes to her baby. So you know, this is a dentist, he’s not a doctor and that would be scary4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96. (p. 1090).

Low credibility for the procedures performed, price charged for procedures and diagnosis given by the dentist were also found to function as barriers by George et al. 4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96. and Albuquerque et al. 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96..

Fear of/anxiety towards dental treatment

The theme “fear of/anxiety towards dental treatment” is a result of negative past experiences lived by pregnant women 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.. Dentists’ procedures, instruments and environment, such as anesthesia and turbine 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3636. Codato LAB, Nakama L, Cordoni Júnior L, Higasi MS. Atenção odontológica à gestante: papel dos profissionais de saúde. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2011; 16:2297-301.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91., or felling pain or discomfort 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96., can generate anxiety and fear. Also related to previous experiences, professional conduct can generate anxiety. Bad reception or lack of delicacy during the procedures were reported as well 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91..

I thought it was a bad thing to fill the tooth because of the pain, that machine [the engine, the drill] is very bad3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96. (p. 792).

It’s like: you lay in a white, cold room and a guy comes... appears with an injection... Oh, how awful... And then you lose control of the situation. You stand there with your mouth numb. And that horrible engine... Dentists are horrible3636. Codato LAB, Nakama L, Cordoni Júnior L, Higasi MS. Atenção odontológica à gestante: papel dos profissionais de saúde. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2011; 16:2297-301. (p. 2299).

Conversely to how negative experiences may be a barrier to the use of dental services during pregnancy, Le et al. 3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52. (p. 49) found that positive experiences are facilitators for pregnant women who received dental treatment during pregnancy: “I actually like going to the dentist, because since I was a little girl I’ve been going to the dentist. They’re always friendly and they’re nice, so I guess that’s why I like going to the dentist a lot”.

Beliefs and myths about dental treatment safety

All the papers included in the review discussed this theme, depicting the close relationship between beliefs and myths and the utilization of dental service. These tend to strengthen the fear that dental treatment may cause problems with “inadequate development/abortion of the baby” (10 references). Many dental procedures are considered unsafe during pregnancy and, therefore, pregnant women prefer to delay/restrict dental treatment 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3434. Finkler M, Oleiniski DMB, Ramos FRS. Saúde bucal materno-infantil: um estudo de representações sociais com gestantes. Texto Contexto Enferm 2004; 13:360-8.,3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96., either on their own initiative or even under the recommendation of health professionals. On the most common myths, women associated radiographic examinations 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3434. Finkler M, Oleiniski DMB, Ramos FRS. Saúde bucal materno-infantil: um estudo de representações sociais com gestantes. Texto Contexto Enferm 2004; 13:360-8.,3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.,3636. Codato LAB, Nakama L, Cordoni Júnior L, Higasi MS. Atenção odontológica à gestante: papel dos profissionais de saúde. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2011; 16:2297-301.,3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96. and dental anesthesia 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.,3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21. with the risk of malformations in the baby. Dental extraction 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.,3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. was related to abortion and hemorrhage. The prohibition of pain medication 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24. was a barrier related to the fear of feeling pain after a procedure and not being able to be medicated.

Anesthesia, for example. What happens to the child? She could have a problem inside, mental illness, (...) some disease. I would not go and would not recommend anyone to go to the dentist when they are pregnant3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21. (p. 416).

I would not do it because it’s radiation. I think it could pass to the baby and could affect the' development, the growth. If it were me, I would not take it3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80. (p. 1079).

I didn’t really think about going to the dentist because most likely I was going to have to get my teeth pulled and everybody was, like, it’s no use because I couldn’t get my teeth pulled while I was pregnant because they wouldn’t give me no pain medicine, so you just was better off waiting3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24. (p. 321).

Health professionals’ barriers

Some of the barriers found regarded the dentist (6 references) 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3636. Codato LAB, Nakama L, Cordoni Júnior L, Higasi MS. Atenção odontológica à gestante: papel dos profissionais de saúde. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2011; 16:2297-301.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96. and others regarded other health professionals (3 references) 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3636. Codato LAB, Nakama L, Cordoni Júnior L, Higasi MS. Atenção odontológica à gestante: papel dos profissionais de saúde. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2011; 16:2297-301., especially physicians. The women’s reports show that dentists were not comfortable during treatment or that they advised them to return after the baby’s birth 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3636. Codato LAB, Nakama L, Cordoni Júnior L, Higasi MS. Atenção odontológica à gestante: papel dos profissionais de saúde. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2011; 16:2297-301.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96..

When it comes to dental work, I tried to get my teeth done during my pregnancy, but the dentist wanted me to sign this waiver that if anything happened to my baby during my delivery that he wouldn’t be responsible, and I wasn’t comfortable with that because he really freaked me out3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52. (p. 49).

Other professionals also have doubts about the safety of dental treatment during pregnancy and almost do not talk about oral health during prenatal visits, or incorrectly advise the pregnant women 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3636. Codato LAB, Nakama L, Cordoni Júnior L, Higasi MS. Atenção odontológica à gestante: papel dos profissionais de saúde. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2011; 16:2297-301.. This is aggravated when the advice is given by physicians, because there is an unconditional trust in the doctor-patient relationship, creating a barrier that is difficult to overcome 3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.,3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21..

So, I think it’s risky. But with a doctor’s supervision, it would be something else. And no doctor advised me. They no longer make any referrals. Only when people are (...) is dying of pain do they recommend it3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21. (p. 416).

Family and friends’ advice

In addition to the barriers created by the women themselves and the health professionals, “family and friends’ advice” that pregnant women should not go to the dentist 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96., restricting even more the use of dental services for these women.

Someone actually told me that I shouldn’t go to the dentist because I am pregnant (...) A friend [told me] (...) someone told her that going to the dentist was like pointless while you’re pregnant because they won’t give you any kind of numbness. They’re pretty much limited to what they can do3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24. (p. 321-2).

There are also reports of advice regarding oral problems and medications delivered by family members and using only popular knowledge 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24., without any scientific basis.

They didn’t tell me anything about [dental care]. I was telling them my mouth hurt and to try to stick it out. I drank the milk and then I called... their great grandmother and she told me to take some vinegar and pepper and put it where it hurt, and that kind of worked, too… I had a lot of home remedies3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24. (p. 323).

Lack of information about pregnant women’s oral health

The study participants exhibited lack of information about which dental treatments should be delivered during pregnancy and which are some possible changes in their oral health. They felt the need for more information from the health professionals involved in prenatal care 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3434. Finkler M, Oleiniski DMB, Ramos FRS. Saúde bucal materno-infantil: um estudo de representações sociais com gestantes. Texto Contexto Enferm 2004; 13:360-8.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. or from programs/advertisements about it 3636. Codato LAB, Nakama L, Cordoni Júnior L, Higasi MS. Atenção odontológica à gestante: papel dos profissionais de saúde. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2011; 16:2297-301..

Nobody told me about the changes that could happen in the mouth during pregnancy and their effects on the baby3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. (p. 287).

The facilitators and barriers explored in the themes Family and Friends’ Advice and Beliefs and Myths About Dental Treatment Safety are pre-existing or acquired knowledge during health education. Pregnant women who referred to previous knowledge regarding their health during pregnancy felt safer with regard to receiving dental treatment 3434. Finkler M, Oleiniski DMB, Ramos FRS. Saúde bucal materno-infantil: um estudo de representações sociais com gestantes. Texto Contexto Enferm 2004; 13:360-8.,3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91..

“...that you should go because if you have an infection it will affect the baby... The baby’s teeth, because if you have bad oral health the baby will have it too, then you really need to go...” 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. (p. 285).

Education in oral health is fundamental for overcoming these barriers, and it can be performed by health professionals other than the dentist. George et al. 4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96. found satisfaction from pregnant women who received oral health information from midwives who accompanied them in the prenatal care.

Right now, what the doctors have just explained to me is that it can affect the baby, the health of the baby, and I have also been told that, you know, my teeth can also fall...” 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. (p. 287).

Costs

The barriers related to costs are: “dental treatment cost” (4 references) 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3434. Finkler M, Oleiniski DMB, Ramos FRS. Saúde bucal materno-infantil: um estudo de representações sociais com gestantes. Texto Contexto Enferm 2004; 13:360-8.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96., “transportation cost” (3 references) 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91., “pregnancy expenditure” (1 reference) 3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.. George et al. 4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96. found that cost was a factor that prevented many pregnant women from seeking dental treatment. The justifications given by the study participants to avoid dental treatment were: high cost and lack of insurance or money to pay dental treatment 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3434. Finkler M, Oleiniski DMB, Ramos FRS. Saúde bucal materno-infantil: um estudo de representações sociais com gestantes. Texto Contexto Enferm 2004; 13:360-8.. Lack of money to pay for public transport or to fill up the car fuel tank were mentioned as the barrier “cost for transportation” 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.. Other sporadic situations related to pregnancy expenditure were found by Le et al. 3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52..

I haven’t noticed that my gums have been bleeding, but I have a few holes. But the holes were there before… becoming pregnant. They are not causing a problem só... I haven’t actually gone, just because I don’t have the money at the moment4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96. (p. 1090).

Health system or insurance

Pregnant women who received free access to treatment from the government or have health insurance also encountered barriers to the use of these benefits: “infrastructure” (1 ref) 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. and “quality of care” (3 references) 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.. Infrastructure and institutional dynamics have an impact on the capacity of healthcare and on pregnant women’s access to dental care 39. Difficulty to make an appointment 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91., low resoluteness 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96. and poor care 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. were factors related to “quality of care”.

The INAMPS [place where she extracted all upper teeth] is for the people, it is not like what happens in private services, where you are paying in cash (…). The salary [at INAMPS], I think it is not very good, there is a lot of people, [the dentists] pulled out [teeth] more than they filled3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96. (p. 793).

“...some people are well treated, others are not... Attention should be equal for all...” 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. (p. 287).

Difficulty of access to appointments were related to the complexity of administrative processes, restraints related to schedules, and queues.

That’s one thing that I do have a problem with is getting in to see the dentist. I have dental coverage, but there’s only one dentist who will see all of the Medicaid patients and they don’t answer the phone. (...) They said there’s only one provider and we’ll let you know now, he will not answer the phone3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24. (p. 321).

In addition, lack of information about the gratuity of governmental programs 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96. and the administrative processes for obtaining appointments by insurance, or information about their coverage 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91., prevent the access of pregnant women to dental services. With regard to these, “knowledge about services accessibility” for pregnant women would be a facilitating factor (1 reference) 3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31..

I saw a TV report showing that, at UNESP, there was a preventive treatment during pregnancy, so I went back to see how it worked3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31. (p. 129).

Another facilitator described in the studies was the priority care pregnant women receive in these services (3 references). In relation to this, the gratuity and the priority pregnant women receive when accessing the service were highlighted by the participants of the studies 3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96..

I do not have anything to talk about my teeth. I am fine. I’m receiving dental care, but I'm happy now because pregnant women have the privilege of getting treatment for free, and they are well cared here3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80. (p. 1077).

Mobility and security

This theme addresses the access of participants to the dental services facilities: “transportation difficulty” (3 references) 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91., “distance” (2 references) 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. and “street paving” (1 reference) 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. were related to mobility, and “urban violence” (2 references) 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. was related to security. Lack of a car or a driving license and the need to take a bus were transportation difficulties reported in some studies 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.. Street paving also becomes a problem on rainy days 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91..

“...then it's difficult. The bad thing about the bus is that, sometimes, when I have appointments in the morning, it gets very crowded, then it is not so easy because, as sometimes you enter [the bus] last, you cannot get off due to the amount of people on the bus...” 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. (p. 282).

The distance between the women’s house and the dental office was cited as a barrier to the use of dental services during pregnancy 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96., and this was related to urban violence 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91..

A large distance from the hospital and even from the cab ... I'm not good at walking ... It’s not a luxurious neighborhood ... There’s no way to get a fix on the streets ... I do not feel safe with those people...” 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. (p. 281).

You have to leave home early in the morning [to get a numbered ticket for an attendance], it’s scary ... It’s dangerous to walk through... there are bandits and stoned people3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96. (p. 793).

Time constraints

Lack of time for dental visits and long waiting time at the dentist’s office 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52. were factors that limited the participants’ use of dental care services. Pregnant women who worked or studied had difficulty in adjusting their dental appointments to their daily schedules (manage dental appointments - Figure 2) 3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.. In addition, family also appeared as requiring their time 3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52..

I had a toothache, but it continued for days and I filled it with a cotton pellet... I was not going to work...” 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. (p. 281).

“...someone to come watch the kids when I have to be at the dentist because I used to do a lot of my appointments on my husband’s lunch hour and when the kids were napping, but sometimes it takes a few hours3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52. (p. 49).

Employment

In the study by Concha-Sánchez 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91., pregnant women reported loss of employment due to pregnancy, which compromised economic stability and their affiliation with the social health insurance system, hindering their access to health care:

I was very good at my insurance controls with C... S... (name of institution) and then I called to get an appointment with the gynecologist and they said no, that I was no longer affiliated... They asked if I had stopped working and I said yes, then that I was no longer...” 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. (p. 281).

Social support

This theme addresses family support during pregnancy 3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.. The study participants reported that unstable relationships with their partner might impair health care during pregnancy. According to Concha-Sanchéz 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91., relationship can positively or negatively influence dental care attendance. The way women perceived the support from their partners could encourage health care behaviors for themselves and for their unborn children.

“...I think [stress] was mainly brought on because my ex-husband kind of emotionally and physically abused me, and I was having a really hard time. He hurt me when I was pregnant with her, and he let his friends do things to me when I was pregnant with her. I was about probably 3½ or 4 months pregnant when I finally just left him and went and lived with my parents because he was smoking crystal meth and doing pot, and I was trying to get away from him3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52. (p. 48).

Family support can be a barrier, but it can also act as a facilitator for the use of dental services. This involves the pregnant women’s accompaniment and counseling, as well as financial support.

We go to the control visits, both of us together; he always accompanies me everywhere; He never lets me go alone, he is always with me, up and down... Besides, he cares [about me] more than myself, when I have to eat he gives me [food], it is one thing or the other; more worried than me3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. (p. 280).

Discussion

According to a recent systematic review on the determinants for the use of dental services by pregnant women, many questions remain unclear, especially with regard to some psychosocial issues, such as beliefs and values 2020. Rocha JS, Arima LY, Werneck RI, Moysés SJ, Baldani MH. Determinants of dental care attendance during pregnancy: a systematic review. Caries Res 2018; 52:139-52.. As the qualitative approach aims to study the individual in depth by understanding their reality 4141. Timothé P, Eke PI, Presson SM, Malvitz DM. Dental care use among pregnant women in the United States reported in 1999 and 2002. Prev Chronic Dis 2005; 2:A10.,4242. Adomo RdCF, Castro AL. O exercício da sensibilidade: pesquisa qualitativa e a saúde como qualidade. Saúde Soc 1994; 3:172-85.,4343. Silverman D. Interpretação de dados qualitativos: métodos para análise de entrevistas, textos e interações. Porto Alegre: Bookman Editora; 2009., this systematic review was proposed in order to better understand the factors already identified in quantitative analyses, and to provide an exploratory study for new variables that could be tested.

We conducted quality appraisal of both qualitative and mixed-method studies in order to provide a transparent assessment of them. As all assessments in published papers, it is an evaluation of the quality of reporting rather than of the methodological approaches. Grey literature was excluded. We recognize that some good studies may have not been included in this review. However, we opted to include only studies that were published in a peer-reviewed journal 4444. Sacks HS, Reitman D, Pagano D, Kupelnick B. Meta-analysis: an update. Mt Sinai J Med 1995; 63:216-24.. When selecting the studies, we decided to include two papers from Codato et al. 3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.,3636. Codato LAB, Nakama L, Cordoni Júnior L, Higasi MS. Atenção odontológica à gestante: papel dos profissionais de saúde. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2011; 16:2297-301. that came from the same sample, as their cut-offs were different: one addresses the professional barriers perceived by pregnant women 3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21., and the other the barriers of the pregnant women themselves 3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80..

Major findings

The studies included in this systematic review showed that many barriers exist to the use of dental services during pregnancy, even in countries with free care programs and policies. Some are inherent to the patient, regardless of pregnancy, and they were associated with irregular dental attendance patterns, such as fear/anxiety and negative stigma regarding dentistry 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96..

Fear of pain, dental procedures or the environment of the dental office were cited by the pregnant women in the studies, resulting from bad previous dental experiences. The conduct of professionals also generated anxiety and it was related to the dentist/doctor-patient relationship. This was verified by Armfield et al. 4545. Armfield JM, Enkling N, Wolf CA, Ramseier CA. Dental fear and satisfaction with dental services in Switzerland. J Public Health Dent 2014; 74:57-63., who found an association between high levels of dental fear and high levels of dissatisfaction towards the dentist. Interpersonal factors are the most commonly endorsed reasons for people's satisfaction with their dentist. A friendly and respectful dentist that explains everything well will most likely contribute to patients’ acceptance of dental care. Items relating to professional competence were much less endorsed as reasons for patients’ satisfaction 4545. Armfield JM, Enkling N, Wolf CA, Ramseier CA. Dental fear and satisfaction with dental services in Switzerland. J Public Health Dent 2014; 74:57-63..

In addition to inherent fears/anxiety, the lack of information about oral health during pregnancy results in beliefs and myths about dental treatment safety. Many beliefs and myths are present within society, the general population and health professionals, which was the strongest barrier found. All studies found reports of fear that dental treatment causes problems to the baby’s development or abortion. This fear was related to procedures and drugs used during treatment, such as exposure to X-rays, dental extraction, and anesthesia, leading to delays and hindering dental treatment. In the study by Dinas et al. 1212. Dinas K, Achyropoulos V, Hatzipantelis E, Mavromatidis G, Zepiridis L, Theodoridis T, et al. Pregnancy and oral health: utilisation of dental services during pregnancy in northern Greece. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2007; 86:938-44., 72.2% of the participants believed that dental treatment during pregnancy might have a negative effect on pregnancy outcome and it was an important factor limiting the utilization of dental care. Family and friends also contribute to this barrier, with wrong advice regarding the safety of the treatment coming from their experiences, which was described in 5 studies 3131. Detman LA, Cottrell BH, Denis-Luque MF. Exploring dental care misconceptions and barriers in pregnancy. Birth 2010; 37:318-24.,3232. Nogueira LT, Valsecki Júnior A, Martins CR, Rosell FL, Silva SRC. Retardo na procura do tratamento odontológico e percepção da saúde bucal em mulheres grávidas. Odontologia Clínico-Científica 2012; 11:127-31.,3737. Leal NP, Jannotti CB. Saúde bucal da gestante atendida pelo SUS: práticas e representações de profissionais e pacientes. Femina 2009; 37:413-21.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96..

Futhermore, it is clear that the lack of knowledge and the insecurity of health professionals perpetuate myths and beliefs, as they may transmit incorrect information to patients. The review put forward by Vieira et al. 4646. Vieira DR, de Oliveira AE, Lopes FF, Lopes e Maia MF. Dentists’ knowledge of oral health during pregnancy: a review of the last 10 years’ publications. Community Dent Health 2015; 32:77-82. described that dentists have doubts and fears about dental care for pregnant women, especially with regard to the use of X-rays, prescriptions, and ideal gestational period for treatment. George et al. 4747. George A , Shamim S, Johnson M , Dahlen H, Ajwani S , Bhole S , et al. How do dental and prenatal care practitioners perceive dental care during pregnancy? Current evidence and implications. Birth 2012; 39:238-47. examined all studies published in English until 2012 that assessed the knowledge of oral health care during pregnancy of dentists, general practitioners, midwives, and obstetricians/gynecologists; they found that any general practitioner believes that dental procedures are unsafe during pregnancy. Al-Habashneh et al. 4848. Al‐Habashneh R, Aljundi S, Alwaeli H. Survey of medical doctors’ attitudes and knowledge of the association between oral health and pregnancy outcomes. Int J Dent Hyg 2008; 6:214-20. found that 88% of doctors advised the delay of dental treatment until after pregnancy, resulting in another barrier to be overcome that is related to the unconditional trust that patients have in the doctor, following their guidelines without questioning.

Altogether, these factors result in a vicious cycle constituted by health professionals’ doubts with regard to the safety of dental procedures during pregnancy, insecurity of dentists in delivering treatment, and myths or beliefs from pregnant women, and their family/friends. This cycle must be interrupted, and the first step should come from the dentists, who need constant updates on oral health and dental treatment during pregnancy, expanding their knowledge on the theme to transmit confidence and correct information to the population. Moreover, in order to minimize myths, beliefs, fear and anxiety regarding dental care for pregnant women, prenatal dentistry should focus on health literacy, creating a space for dialogue and exchange of knowledge.

Prenatal programs can encourage dental care during pregnancy, potentially having positive influences in changing attitudes and beliefs regarding oral health 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.. Priority of care in the health systems and insurance was strongly associated with dental visits during pregnancy in quantitative studies 1414. Amin M, ElSalhy M. Factors affecting utilization of dental services during pregnancy. J Periodontol 2014; 85:1712-21.,1616. Vergnes JN1, Pastor-Harper D, Constantin D, Bedos C, Kaminski M, Nabet C, et al. Santé bucco-dentaire perçue et recours aux soins pendant la grossesse: étude MaterniDent. Santé Publique 2013; 25:281-92.,1717. Al-Habashneh R, Guthmiller JM, Levy S, Johnson GK, Squier C, Dawson DV, et al. Factors related to utilization of dental services during pregnancy. J Clin Periodontol 2005; 32:815-21.,1919. Corchuelo-Ojeda J, González Pérez GJ. Determinantes socioeconómicos de la atención odontológica durante la gestación en Cali, Colombia. Cad Saúde Pública 2014; 30:2209-18. as confirmed in this review 3535. Codato LA, Nakama L, Melchior R. Percepções de gestantes sobre atenção odontológica durante a gravidez. Ciênc Saúde Coletiva 2008; 13:1075-80.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91.,4040. George A, Johnson M, Duff M, Ajwani S, Bhole S, Blinkhorn A, et al. Midwives and oral health care during pregnancy: perceptions of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney, Australia. J Clin Nurs 2012; 21:1087-96., but there are still problems that need to be overcome. Administrative processes and patient/professional relationship need to be improved, with better team training and health planning. This can increase users’ satisfaction and thus encourage women to use these services during pregnancy.

Many oral health problems are commonly considered usual during pregnancy, such as dental impairment/loss, toothache, and gingival bleeding. This misconception becomes a barrier, since several dental conditions could be prevented, avoiding the increase in cavities and gingivitis during gestation 1616. Vergnes JN1, Pastor-Harper D, Constantin D, Bedos C, Kaminski M, Nabet C, et al. Santé bucco-dentaire perçue et recours aux soins pendant la grossesse: étude MaterniDent. Santé Publique 2013; 25:281-92.. Although pregnant women are more susceptible to oral problems due to hormonal, salivary and behavioral change, the dental conditions depicted here are not inherent to pregnancy. They are all associated with plaque due to poor/difficult hygiene of the teeth during pregnancy and are therefore avoidable 4949. Bressane LB, Costa LNBS, Vieira JMR, Rebelo MAB. Oral health conditions among pregnant women attended to at a health care center in Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil. Rev Odonto Ciênc 2011; 26:291-6.,5050. Rakchanok N, Amporn D, Yoshida Y, Harun-Or-Rashid M, Sakamoto J. Dental caries and gingivitis among pregnant and non-pregnant women in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Nagoya J Med Sci 2010; 72:43-50.. Any attempt to eliminate this barrier is of high importance, since it is directly related to the mother’s quality of life, minimizing the chances of oral pain, psychological discomfort, physical and psychological disability, social disability and handicap 66. de Oliveira BH, Nadanovsky P. The impact of oral pain on quality of life during pregnancy in low-income Brazilian women. J Orofac Pain 2006; 20:297-305.,5151. Lu H-X, Xu W, Wong MCM, Wei T-Y, Feng X-P. Impact of periodontal conditions on the quality of life of pregnant women: a cross-sectional study. Health Qual Life Outcomes 2015; 13:67.. Moreover, the maintenance of good oral health during pregnancy depends on healthy diet and oral hygiene 5252. Jevtić M, Pantelinac J, Jovanović-Ilić T, Petrović V, Grgić O, Blažić L. The role of nutrition in caries prevention and maintenance of oral health during pregnancy. Med Pregl 2015; 68:387-93. and health literacy (we will discuss below) is the key to that.

The findings of this review show that knowledge regarding pregnant women’s oral health and the developmental effects of the baby are facilitators for the use of services. These results are reinforced by quantitative studies, which found that pregnant women who know the connection between oral health and pregnancy use dental services more often 1717. Al-Habashneh R, Guthmiller JM, Levy S, Johnson GK, Squier C, Dawson DV, et al. Factors related to utilization of dental services during pregnancy. J Clin Periodontol 2005; 32:815-21.,5353. George A , Johnson M , Blinkhorn A , Ajwani S , Bhole S , Yeo AE A, et al. The oral health status, practices and knowledge of pregnant women in south‐western Sydney. Aust Dent J 2013; 58:26-33.. This is directly related to the health education carried out by the professionals involved with prenatal care. Health literacy is the way to overcome the barriers mentioned, as it has been described in the literature that dental health education is related to the use of dental services during pregnancy 1313. Saddki N, Yusoff A, Hwang YL. Factors associated with dental visit and barriers to utilisation of oral health care services in a sample of antenatal mothers in Hospital Universiti Sains Malaysia. BMC Public Health 2010; 10:75.,1616. Vergnes JN1, Pastor-Harper D, Constantin D, Bedos C, Kaminski M, Nabet C, et al. Santé bucco-dentaire perçue et recours aux soins pendant la grossesse: étude MaterniDent. Santé Publique 2013; 25:281-92.,1919. Corchuelo-Ojeda J, González Pérez GJ. Determinantes socioeconómicos de la atención odontológica durante la gestación en Cali, Colombia. Cad Saúde Pública 2014; 30:2209-18.. Furthermore, by recognizing the importance of oral health, especially during pregnancy, barriers related to perception and low importance of oral health, misconception that oral problems are physiological during gestation, and devaluation of the professional could also be overcome. Finally, to facilitate effective health education, health professionals require pregnancy-specific education on oral health to provide up-to-date preventative and curative care to pregnant patients 5454. Huebner CE, Milgrom P , Conrad D, Lee RS. Providing dental care to pregnant patients: a survey of Oregon general dentists. J Am Dent Assoc 2009; 140:211-22..

According to several studies, socioeconomic factors were significant predictors of low demand for dental services during pregnancy. Women with lower household income levels were less likely to have dental visits 88. Singhal A, Chattopadhyay A, Garcia AI, Adams AB, Cheng D. Disparities in unmet dental need and dental care received by pregnant women in Maryland. Matern Child Health J 2014; 18:1658-66.,1515. Marchi KS, Fisher-Owens SA, Weintraub JA, Zhiwei YU, Braveman PA. Most pregnant women in California do not receive dental care: findings from a population-based study. Public Health Rep 2010; 125:831-42.,1919. Corchuelo-Ojeda J, González Pérez GJ. Determinantes socioeconómicos de la atención odontológica durante la gestación en Cali, Colombia. Cad Saúde Pública 2014; 30:2209-18.,4141. Timothé P, Eke PI, Presson SM, Malvitz DM. Dental care use among pregnant women in the United States reported in 1999 and 2002. Prev Chronic Dis 2005; 2:A10.,5555. Boggess KA, Urlaub DM, Massey KE, Moos M-K, Matheson MB, Lorenz C. Oral hygiene practices and dental service utilization among pregnant women. J Am Dent Assoc 2010; 141:553-61.. With the analysis of the qualitative studies in this review, we are able to understand some factors involved. As expected, the cost of dental treatment was indeed confirmed to be an important barrier to the use of dental services, moreover, expenses with the newborn, such as diapers and clothes, also directly impact family income. One unexpected finding was that even the pregnant women with insurance or free care had barriers to the use of this service due to transportation costs 3333. Albuquerque OMR, Abegg C, Rodrigues CS. Percepção de gestantes do Programa Saúde da Família em relação a barreiras no atendimento odontológico em Pernambuco, Brasil. Cad Saúde Pública 2004; 20:789-96.,3838. Le M, Riedy C, Weinstein P, Milgrom P. Barriers to utilization of dental services during pregnancy: a qualitative analysis. J Dent Child 2009; 76:46-52.,3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91. such as bus tickets or fuel to go to the place where dental services are offered. Socioeconomic condition is related to social support. Studies show that women who received financial and psychological support from their partners and family sought dental care more often than those who did not 1616. Vergnes JN1, Pastor-Harper D, Constantin D, Bedos C, Kaminski M, Nabet C, et al. Santé bucco-dentaire perçue et recours aux soins pendant la grossesse: étude MaterniDent. Santé Publique 2013; 25:281-92.,1818. Thompson TA, Cheng D, Strobino D. Dental cleaning before and during pregnancy among Maryland mothers. Matern Child Health J 2013; 17:110-8.,1919. Corchuelo-Ojeda J, González Pérez GJ. Determinantes socioeconómicos de la atención odontológica durante la gestación en Cali, Colombia. Cad Saúde Pública 2014; 30:2209-18.. Similarly, this review identified that financial and social support from family and friends were enabling factors of access to dental services. These results highlight the complexity of the psychosocial factors involved in dental attendance during pregnancy.

Another important finding was the loss of employment, the insecurity of losing one’s job during pregnancy due to taking day offs to go to dental appointments, which may be influenced by the need for greater financial resources for the arrival of the new family member. Although many countries legally support women during gestation, in that they are able to return to their jobs after the end of maternity leave 5656. Del Bono E, Weber A, Winter‐Ebmer R. Clash of career and family: fertility decisions after job displacement. J Eur Econ Assoc 2012; 10:659-83.. Even though pregnant women should be treated the same way as any other applicants or employees for all employment related purposes, there exists an employer preconception towards pregnant women 5757. Cunningham J, Macan T. Effects of applicant pregnancy on hiring decisions and interview ratings. Sex Roles 2007; 57:497-508.. In the study by Concha-Sanchéz 3939. Concha-Sánchez SC. El proceso salud-enfermedad-atención bucal de la gestante: una visión de las mujeres con base en la determinación social de la salud. Rev Fac Med (Bogotá) 2013; 61:275-91., there were reports of pregnant women who lost their jobs because they were pregnant, and this impacted in their health insurance policy and socioeconomic condition.

Dentistry practice must be based on evidence, so that this vicious cycle of beliefs and myths, which passes from professional to patient and vice versa, comes to an end and, thus, pregnant women have better access to prenatal quality treatment. This review helps to understand how the barriers found in the studies are complex, so that health managers can prepare actions to increase the access of pregnant women to dental treatment. Few facilitators were found and they are here poorly exploited, as they were not the objective of these studies.

Therefore, further studies on this topic are suggested to assist in the planning of effective oral health policies for pregnant women. These results may also support new studies, especially for test intervention protocols and to guide effective public policies to minimize barriers/encourage facilitators, promoting oral health during pregnancy. Intervention studies should focus on overcoming the barriers here described and on enhancing a comprehensive prenatal dentistry. Dental prenatal care must encompass women’s health and aim to clarify myths and beliefs regarding the safety of dental treatment during pregnancy. Aside from that, it is necessary to invest in permanent education for health professionals involved in prenatal care in order for them to ensure appropriate care for pregnant women.

There are some limitations. Articles published in a year and/or language different from those adopted as inclusion criteria may have been left out of the analysis. In addition, the exclusion of gray literature also affected the overall number of studies analyzed. Theoretical and sociological approaches should be included when designing and reporting further studies, for greater understanding of the subject.

Conclusion

This systematic review concludes that many factors may co-operate in complex ways and influence in the search and access to the dental services during pregnancy. These factors are: physiological conditions, low importance towards oral health, negative stigma regarding dentistry, fear of/anxiety towards dental treatment, mobility and safety, financial barriers, employment, time constraints, social support, lack of information, health professional’s barriers, family and friend’s advice, beliefs and myths about the safety of dental treatment. Myths and beliefs about oral health and dental treatment during pregnancy appear as a prevalent barrier that affects both pregnant women and health professionals, including dentists. Some facilitators were identified in this review, but need to be further analyzed in the future.

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    06 Sept 2018
  • Date of issue
    2018

History

  • Received
    31 July 2017
  • Reviewed
    28 May 2018
  • Accepted
    11 June 2018
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