Prenatal health care reduces future health care costs and identifies problems early on, when they are more easily addressed.
For Our Babies recommends policies and practices that support these solutions.
Prenatal health care
Many infants are at risk before they are even born. In 2018, 28 million Americans were without health insurance, including 11 percent of all women1, and many of those who are insured are underinsured, often resulting in inadequate prenatal care2. In 2017, 6 percent of women delivering babies in the United States reported having no or delayed prenatal care3.
Why It Matters
One of the best ways to promote a healthy birth is to have a healthy pregnancy. Prenatal health care reduces future health care costs associated with pregnancy-related complications, preterm births, and low birth weight and identifies problems early on, when they are more easily addressed4.
Prenatal health care coverage for all families, regardless of income, including home-based support and counseling during pregnancy
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Care for High-Risk Pregnancies
The United States has a relatively high infant mortality rate compared to other developed nations. In 2014, more than 23,000 infants (or approximately 6 for every 1,000 live births) died in the United States due in part to inadequate and limited access to quality and affordable prenatal care for all pregnancies, including those at high risk5.
Why It Matters
Access to affordable quality prenatal care, especially for women with high-risk pregnancies, improves outcomes for babies and their mothers. These early interventions help reduce preterm births, pregnancy-related complications, and infant mortality rates. Factors that make a pregnancy high risk include pre-existing health conditions, age, lifestyle factors, and condition of the pregnancy6.
Affordable intervention services for high-risk pregnancies
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Featured resources about care for
high-risk pregnancies See all
What you can do
March of Dimes
The March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. On their website you can find more information on the extensive work they do related to prenatal care, volunteer opportunities, an advocacy toolkit, ways to donate and find events in your area.
- United Health Foundation. (n.d.). America’s health rankings analysis of U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey. https://www.americashealthrankings.org
- Berchick, E. R., Barnett, J. C., & Upton, R. D. (2018). Current population reports, P60-267(RV), health insurance coverage in the United States: 2018. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
- United Health Foundation. (n.d.). America’s health rankings analysis of CDC WONDER Online Database, natality public-use data. https://americashealthrankings.org/explore/health-of-women-and-children/measure/prenatalcare_mch/state/ALL
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. (2017). What is prenatal care and why is it important? https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/prenatal-care
- Texas A&M University. (2016, October 13). Why American infant mortality rates are so high. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161013103132.htm
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. (2018). What are some factors that make a pregnancy high risk? https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/high-risk/conditioninfo/factors