What does this measure?
The proportion of births in which mothers initiated prenatal care during the first trimester of pregnancy (before 13 weeks gestation), broken down by mother's race or ethnicity.
Why is this important?
Early, high-quality prenatal care is critical to reducing risks for complications of pregnancy or birth and improving birth outcomes.
How is Westchester County performing?
In general, early prenatal care rates among African American and Hispanic mothers are lower than rates for white mothers. In 2019, 73% of African American and 79% of Hispanic mothers in Westchester County received early prenatal care compared to 87% of white mothers. These rates are all higher than New York State and Rockland County rates and on par or slightly lower than Nassau rates.
The rates of early prenatal care in Westcheser have increased for all race/ethnicities since 2006. The rate among Hispanic mothers increased by 17 points, followed by white mothers with an increase of 9 points and African American mothers with an increase of 8 points.
Why do these disparities exist?
Researchers have uncovered a number of factors contributing to generally lower rates of early prenatal care among mothers of color. These include: socioeconomic characteristics like education and family income; maternal health and characteristics of pregnancies (such as maternal age and number of previous pregnancies); types of insurance coverage - whether women are covered by Medicaid, private insurance, or have no coverage; and the location of prenatal care facilities - in physicians' offices and public health clinics. One study found socioeconomic differences was responsible for roughly half the gap - pregnant women with lower incomes and levels of formal education often do not have the resources necessary to obtain care early and often - but that public programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children increased access to care.
Notes about the data
The rate excludes the number of live births for which the date of entry into prenatal care is unknown. In addition to considering when prenatal care began, it is also important to understand the quality and continuity of care received throughout the pregnancy.
|Black or African American||Hispanic||White|
|New York State||68%||71%||83%|
Notes: Percent of live births for which mothers received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester of pregnancy.
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