Children & Youth
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity, 2019


Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity, 2019

What does this measure?

The number of births to women who initiated prenatal care during the first trimester of pregnancy (before 13 weeks gestation), expressed as a percentage of all live births within each racial and ethnic group.

Why is this important?

Early, high-quality prenatal care is critical to reducing risks for complications of pregnancy or birth and improving birth outcomes.

How is our county performing?

In 2019, 81% of Hispanic women and 84% of African American women in Berks County received early prenatal care, compared with 85% of white women and 100% of Asian women. The rates for both Hispanic and African American women were up by 34 and 39 percentage points, respectively, since 2007. For white women, the rate was up 16 percentage points since 2007.

Rates in Berks County were significantly higher for African American, Hispanic, and Asian women compared to state and national rates, and slightly higher for white women.

Among neighboring counties, Chester, Lancaster, Lehigh and Montgomery counties had lower rates of early prenatal care among Hispanic and African American women than Berks County. Relatively few African American and Hispanic women gave birth in Schuylkill and Lebanon counties during this period, which made accurate comparisons difficult.

Why do these disparities exist?

Researchers have uncovered a number of factors contributing to generally lower rates of early prenatal care among mothers of color. These include: socioeconomic characteristics like education and family income; maternal health and characteristics of pregnancies (such as maternal age and number of previous pregnancies); types of insurance coverage - whether women are covered by Medicaid, private insurance, or have no coverage; and the location of prenatal care facilities - in physicians' offices and public health clinics. One study found socioeconomic differences was responsible for roughly half the gap -- pregnant women with lower incomes and levels of formal education often do not have the resources necessary to obtain care early and often - but that public programs such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children increased access to care.

Notes about the data

The rate excludes the number of live births for which the date of entry into prenatal care is unknown. In addition to considering when prenatal care began, it is also important to understand the quality and continuity of care received throughout the pregnancy. Comparable national data is not available before 2014.

There may be additional research available on this topic. Click on Reports and Resources to learn more.

Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity, 2019
Asian or Pacific IslanderBlack or African AmericanHispanic or LatinoWhite
Pennsylvania74%64%67%78%
Berks County100%84%81%85%
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County86%70%74%81%
Lancaster County85%73%77%67%
Lebanon County100%100%76%77%
Lehigh County100%79%80%84%
Montgomery County81%68%64%84%
Schuylkill County100%85%75%

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Notes: Percent of live births for which mothers received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester of pregnancy. Data may not be available for every group.




Number of Births with Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity, 2019
Asian or Pacific IslanderBlack or African AmericanHispanic or LatinoWhite
Pennsylvania5,18615,11811,22080,616
Berks County934641,3373,301
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County3712874523,500
Lancaster County1573917604,082
Lebanon County13242241,133
Lehigh County1594871,3552,812
Montgomery County7087174425,363
Schuylkill County1157905

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Notes: Number of births for which mothers received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester of pregnancy. Data may not be available for every group.




Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity, 2007
Asian or Pacific IslanderBlack or African AmericanHispanic or LatinoWhite
Pennsylvania58%45%47%69%
Berks County86%45%47%68%
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County74%60%49%76%
Lancaster County85%57%62%65%
Lebanon County100%69%69%
Lehigh County68%47%46%66%
Montgomery County65%48%42%72%
Schuylkill County100%78%

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Notes: Percent of live births for which mothers received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester of pregnancy. Data may not be available for every group.




Number of Births with Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity, 2007
Asian or Pacific IslanderBlack or African AmericanHispanic or LatinoWhite
Pennsylvania3,65211,7956,49281,324
Berks County742526452,960
Berks County Regions
Central
Northeast
South
Southeast
West
Reading city
Berks County Peers
Chester County2842183343,938
Lancaster County1163145074,287
Lebanon County141241,098
Lehigh County1082996032,301
Montgomery County5654182865,311
Schuylkill County101,094

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Notes: Number of births for which mothers received prenatal care beginning in the first trimester of pregnancy. Data may not be available for every group.




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