Prenatal screening for infectious diseases: an analysis of disparities and adherence to policy in California

Matern Child Health J. 2009 Mar;13(2):260-7. doi: 10.1007/s10995-008-0341-5. Epub 2008 Apr 30.


Objectives: Prenatal infectious diseases are a major cause of mortality and morbidity among newborns, but many are preventable with proper maternal screening and treatment. METHODS; Adherence to prenatal infectious disease screening guidelines and demographic factors that influence adherence were determined utilizing existing data on 1837 live births from 1999-2003.

Results: We found higher rates of testing for syphilis (94.54%), rubella (92.69%) and hepatitis B (94.23%) than for HIV (73.82%) and GBS (69.05%). Adherence to testing guidelines varied by both disease and maternal factors. Lack of insurance, geographic location, inadequate prenatal care and incarceration were the main maternal factors associated with lack of testing.

Conclusions: Disease screening rates may be improved by reducing socioeconomic barriers to prenatal testing, supporting access to insurance, eliminating provider biases and providing adequate prenatal care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • California / epidemiology
  • Communicable Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening*
  • Medical Audit
  • Prenatal Care*