Prenatal care describes any care a woman receives during her pregnancy. It is intended to keep both the mother and the child healthy and also to reduce the risk of complications during and after birth. This care is especially important for women with high-risk factors so that doctors and nurses are able to monitor their health and the health of their baby during the duration of their pregnancy. For prenatal care to be most effective, it is imperative to begin prenatal care within the first trimester of a woman's pregnancy. However, in the United States, medical racism creates a major barrier for women of color in receiving prenatal care. Oftentimes, marginalized women receive prenatal care too late or not at all. As a result, the rates of maternal mortality and fetal mortality are higher for marginalized women than for their white counterparts. Barriers such as financial barriers, transportation barriers, inhospitable institutional practices (i.e. medical racism), general dislike or fear of prenatal services, and many other factors, contribute to the disparities marginalized women face within the American healthcare system. This research project aims to compare the percentage of mothers receiving early prenatal care across races as well as compare the percentage of women of reproductive age that are insured across races to understand if these variables contribute to poor prenatal care amongst marginalized women. Data indicates that there is in fact a correlation between the percentage of women who are uninsured and those who received early prenatal care, by race and ethnicity. These results illustrate that there is an intersectionality of many barriers that continue to perpetuate the issues of medical racism that need to be addressed in order for maternal and fetal health of marginalized identities to increase.
Cheema, Rubina, "Medical Racism: Comparing Prenatal Care Across Races in the United States" (2022). Student Research. 54, Scholarly and Creative Work from DePauw University.