Many Women Still Receive Little or No Prenatal Care Before Giving Birth in 2018

Posted September 25, 2020
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Statistics on women who receive late or no prenatal care in the United States

Near­ly a quar­ter mil­lion women in the Unit­ed States gave birth in 2018 with­out hav­ing received any pre­na­tal care — or get­ting it only at the very end of their preg­nan­cies. This fig­ure has basi­cal­ly held steady for the past three years for which data are avail­able, and under­ly­ing infor­ma­tion reflects trou­bling racial and eth­nic dis­par­i­ties.

The share of births asso­ci­at­ed with late or no pre­na­tal care was 6% in 2016, 2017 and 2018; the total num­ber for 2018 was 229,622, accord­ing to an analy­sis of data from the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Prevention’s Nation­al Cen­ter for Health Sta­tis­tics. Here’s how that fig­ure breaks down by race and ethnicity:

  • Amer­i­can Indi­an women were least like­ly to have received pre­na­tal care in 2018, with 12% of births result­ing from preg­nan­cies unac­com­pa­nied by such care.
  • Black (10%), His­pan­ic or Lati­no (8%) and mul­tira­cial (7%) births tied to lit­tle or no pre­na­tal care also exceed­ed the nation­al average.
  • Asian and Pacif­ic Islander births asso­ci­at­ed with lit­tle or no pre­na­tal care (6%) aligned with the nation­al aver­age. Only 4% of non-His­pan­ic white births fell into this category.

State-by-state data are also avail­able, although data are sup­pressed for cer­tain racial or eth­nic groups in some states because the num­ber of live births was too small for sta­tis­ti­cal analy­sis. Across all races and eth­nic­i­ties, the high­est per­cent­ages of births tied to lit­tle or no pre­na­tal care were seen in Hawaii (11%), New Mex­i­co (11%) and Texas (10%), and the low­est fig­ures were in Rhode Island (2%) and Ver­mont (2%).

A healthy start is essen­tial for chil­dren in order for them to thrive. The Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion offers a range of resources on ear­ly child­hood and well-being.

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