Adequacy of prenatal care utilization, maternal ethnicity, and infant birthweight in Chicago

J Natl Med Assoc. 1997 Mar;89(3):198-203.


This study examines the extent to which the Adequacy of Prenatal Care Utilization Index explains the racial disparity in infant birthweight. A stratified analysis was performed on all African-American, Mexican-American, and non-Latino white singleton infants born in Chicago, Illinois between 1982 and 1983. This older cohort was chosen to avoid the confounding effect of cocaine associated with its increased local availability after 1985. The adequacy of prenatal care utilization varied by race and place of residence. However, in moderate-income areas (median family annual income of $20,001 to $30,000), the African-American birthweight disadvantage persisted among infants born to mothers who received adequate and adequate-plus prenatal care. Similarly, although race-specific term (gestational age > 37 weeks) low birthweight rates declined as prenatal care usage rose, the position of African Americans relative to Mexican Americans and whites was essentially unchanged. These findings indicate that maternal race or some factor closely related to it affects pregnancy outcome regardless of the adequacy of prenatal care utilization.

MeSH terms

  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Birth Weight*
  • Chicago / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*
  • Whites / statistics & numerical data*