Purpose: This study demonstrates preliminary evidence of the utility of an optimality index as a simple tool for monitoring complications across the perinatal period.
Method: The medical records of 147 Latina women participating in a preventive randomized controlled trial for perinatal depression were reviewed for outcomes across the perinatal period.
Results: Application of the optimality index found optimality scores ranging from 77.3% to 97.7% in a Latina immigrant population known to have low rates of low-birthweight infants and preterm birth. Optimality scores were significantly lower among women who had a preterm birth or low-birthweight infant.
Discussion: The ability of optimality indices to capture within-group variability will allow for a more nuanced understanding of the antecedents and sequelae of negative birth outcomes.
Implications for practice: Increasing reliance on electronic medical records will facilitate the calculation of optimality scores that can be used to track patterns of perinatal health disparities.
Keywords: optimality; perinatal; postpartum; pregnancy; prenatal.
© The Author(s) 2014.