6. Prenatal Care

6. Late or No Prenatal Care

Prenatal care—the health care a woman receives when she is pregnant—is important for healthy mothers and healthy infants. Early and regular prenatal care increases the chances of a healthy pregnancy and a healthy birth. When a health care provider sees a woman regularly during her pregnancy, the provider can identify health problems early, addressing many problems and preventing others. Health care providers will also talk to pregnant women about things they can do to give their unborn babies a healthy start. Healthy development begins in the womb. An infant who is born healthy has a better chance to grow up healthy.

What Can the Data Tell Us?

When broken down by race/ethnicity, data on women receiving late or no prenatal care reveal that specific populations are less likely to have adequate prenatal care. Non-Hispanic white women have a higher likelihood of receiving prenatal care compared with all other ethnic populations (Table 12). The disparity is larger among black, non-Hispanic women and American Indian/Alaskan Native women. Late or no prenatal care puts women of color at a higher risk for complications during pregnancy and delivery, and for their infant to have medical issues at birth. 

Table 12

Source: Child Trends Bank  http://www.childtrends.org/?indicators=late-or-no-prenatal-care , 2012

State organizations, such as the National Council of La Raza (Table 13) have state specific data.  This 2009 data provides information about 21 states. A state public health department may also be an excellent resource to find information.

Table 13. Percent of births to mothers with late or no prenatal care by race/ethnicity, U.S. and states, 2009 (ages 0-2)