Objective: Despite the importance of prenatal care, there are no national data and limited provincial data on use of prenatal care by women in Canada, nor is there much information on racial/ethnic disparities in access to prenatal care. This study describes and compares the prevalence and predictors of inadequate prenatal care among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women giving birth in Manitoba.
Methods: Data were obtained from interviews with 652 postpartum women who delivered a live singleton infant in 2 tertiary hospitals in Winnipeg, Manitoba. We identified inadequate prenatal care, using the Kessner Adequacy of Prenatal Care Index. We used stratified analysis to describe effect-measure modification for predictors of inadequate prenatal care among the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal subgroups. We conducted a multivariable logistic regression analysis for the total sample.
Results: A significantly higher proportion of Aboriginal women (15.7%) than non-Aboriginal women (3.6%) received inadequate prenatal care. After controlling for other factors, significant predictors of inadequate prenatal care included low income, low self-esteem, high levels of perceived stress, and Aboriginal background.
Conclusion: Women who do not receive adequate prenatal care are more likely to live in poverty, experience highly stressed lives, have low levels of self-esteem, and be Aboriginal. Efforts to improve the provision of prenatal care should be directed toward these women. Racial/ethnic disparities in use of prenatal care need to be addressed.