Prenatal care—especially care beginning in the first trimester—allows health care providers to identify and manage a woman’s risk factors and health conditions and to provide expectant parents with relevant health care advice. The reported rate of first trimester prenatal care utilization has been increasing fairly steadily since the early 1990s; however, changes made to the standard birth certificate, which are gradually being adopted by the states, make comparisons over time impossible.
In 2006, in the 18 reporting areas (States and territories) that use the revised birth certificate, 69.0 percent of women giving birth were determined to have received prenatal care in the first trimester. In the 34 areas using the unrevised birth certificate, 83.2 percent of women were reported to have entered prenatal care in the first trimester.
Early prenatal care utilization differs by race/ ethnicity. In 2006, non-Hispanic White women were most likely to receive first trimester prenatal care—this is the case using both revised and unrevised birth certificate data (76.2 percent and 88.1 percent, respectively). Non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic women are less likely to receive first trimester prenatal care.
In 2006, 7.9 percent of women in the areas using the revised birth certificate began prenatal care in the third trimester or did not receive any prenatal care; in areas using the unrevised birth certificate, the rate was 3.6 percent. In both the unrevised and revised reporting areas, non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic women were more than twice as likely as non-Hispanic White women to receive late or no prenatal care.