Trends in the Well-Being of America's Children and Youth, 1997. HC 3.2.b Late or no prenatal care

04/01/1997

Receiving prenatal care late in a pregnancy, or receiving no prenatal care at all can lead to negative health outcomes for mother and child. Women who receive care late in their pregnancy or who do not receive care at all are at increased risk of bearing infants who are low birth weight, who are stillborn, or who die within the first year of life.35 Between 1970 and 1994, the percentage of women receiving late or no prenatal care declined from 7.9 percent to 4.4 percent (see Figure HC 3.2.B).

Differences by Race and Ethnicity. The percentage of mothers who receive late or no prenatal care has declined substantially for mothers in all race and ethnic groups (see Table HC 3.2.B):

  • Black mothers have seen the most dramatic improvement, with the percentage receiving late or no prenatal care dropping by half between 1970 and 1994. In 1994, 8.2 percent of black mothers received late or no prenatal care.
  • The percentage of Hispanic women receiving late or no prenatal care has decreased every year since 1990, and at 7.6 percent in 1994 was lower than the rate for black women.
  • White women have consistently been least likely to receive late or no prenatal care. In 1994, 3.6 percent of white women received late or no prenatal care.

Differences by Age. In general, as the age of the mother increases, the likelihood of receiving late or no prenatal care decreases. The percentage of mothers age 15 and younger who received late or no prenatal care is nearly double that of mothers ages 15 through 19, and three to five times greater than mothers 20 years and older. Although their rates remain much higher than any other age group, the percentage of mothers age 15 and under who received late or no prenatal care has improved dramatically since 1975, decreasing to 15.9 percent by 1994. Percentages among mothers age 15 through 19 have also improved over this time period, decreasing to 8.0 percent in 1994. Less than four percent of women in each age group over 25 received late or no prenatal care during pregnancy, especially women age 30 through 34 whose rate of late or no prenatal care reached a new low of 2.7 percent in 1994.
 

Figure HC 3.2.B  
Percentage of Mothers Receiving Latea or No Prenatal Care: Selected Years, 1970-1994b 

HC3_2B.GIF

Notes: aLate prenatal care is defined as 7th month or later. bThe data refer to those women who had live births. Source: 1970 and 1975 data from: Unpublished tabulations, National Center for Health Statistics. 1980 - 1993 data from: National Center for Health Statistics. Health United States, 1995. Hyattsville, Maryland: Public Health Service, 1996 (table 7). 1994 data from: Ventura, S.J., Martin, J.A., Mathews, T.J. and Clarke, S.C. Advance Report of Final Natality Statistics, 1994. Monthly Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 44, No. 11, Supplement. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics. 1996 (tables 24 and 33).
 
 

Table HC 3.2.B 
Percentage of Mothers Receiving Latea or No Prenatal Care: Selected Years, 1970-1994b

 
   
1970
1975
1980
1985
1990
1992
1993
1994
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total
7.9
6
5.1
5.7
6.1
5.2
4.8
4.4
 
                 
Race/Ethnicityc,d
  White
6.3
5
4.3
4.8
4.9
4.2
3.9
3.6
  Black
16.6
10.5
8.9
10.2
11.3
9.9
9
8.2
  Hispanic
 
 
12
12.4
12
9.5
8.8
7.6
 
Age
  < 15
 
21.1
20
20.5
20.3
17.2
16.6
15.9
  15-19
 
10.8
10.3
12
11.9
9.7
8.9
8
  20-24
 
5.8
5.4
6.9
8
6.7
6.2
5.6
  25-29
 
3.6
3.1
3.8
4.4
3.9
3.7
3.4
  30-34
 
4.3
3
3.1
3.4
3
2.9
2.7
  35 and older
 
7.5
5.4
4.5
4.1
3.6
3.4
3.1
 
Notes:  aLate prenatal care is defined as 7th month or later.  
bThe data refer to those women who had live births.  
cPercentages are based on the race and ethnicity of the mother.  
dFigures for Hispanic women in 1980 are based on data from 22 States which report Hispanic origin on the birth certificate; 23 States and the District of Columbia in 1985;  
48 States and the District of Columbia in 1990; 49 States and the District of Columbia in 1992; and 50 States and the District of Columbia since 1993.  

Sources: 1970 and 1975 data from: Unpublished tabulations, National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 1995. Hyattsville, Maryland: Public Health Service. 1996. (table 7 for totals and race/ethnicity breaks for 1980-1993); 1980 data from: Monthly Vital Statistics Report. Vol. 31, No. 8, Supplement. 1982 (table 20); 1985 data from: Monthly Vital Statistics Report. Vol. 36, No. 4, Supplement. 1987 (table 25); 1990 data from: Monthly Vital Statistics Report. Vol. 41, No. 9, Supplement. 1993  
(tables 26 and 30); 1992 data from: Ventura, S.J., Martin, J.A., Taffel, S.M., Mathews, T.J. and Clarke, S.C. "Advance Report of Final Natality Statistics, 1992." Monthly Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 43, No. 5, Supplement. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics. 1994 (tables 24 and 33); 1993 data from: Ventura, S.J., Martin, J.A., Taffel, S.M., Mathews, T.J. and Clarke S.C. "Advance Report of Final Natality Statistics, 1993." Monthly Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 44, No. 3, Supplement. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics. 1995 (tables 24 and 33); 1994 data from: Ventura, S.J., Martin, J.A., Mathews, T.J. and Clarke S.C. "Advance Report of Final Natality Statistics, 1994." Monthly Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 44, No. 11, Supplement. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics. 1996  
(tables 24 and 33).

 

35 U.S. Public Health Service. "Caring for Our Future: The Content of Prenatal Care." Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 1989.ve late or no prenatal care has declined substantially for mothers in all race and ethnic groups (see Table HC 3.2.B):
 

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