State Medicaid expansions led to more prenatal care for low-income mothers

December 28, 2017, University of California, Los Angeles
Laura Wherry. Credit: UCLA Health

The Medicaid expansions for low-income parents that took place in 34 states between 1996 and 2011 led to a 2.3 percent decrease in the uninsured rate among women who already had a child and became pregnant again, and a 7.9 percent decrease in the number of mothers who didn't have insurance while they were pregnant.

The expansions also led to 0.4 percent more pregnant mothers beginning earlier in their pregnancies. And pregnant mothers with lower levels of education were 1.7 percent more likely to receive adequate prenatal care as a result of the expansions.

The U.S. has one of the highest of the world's developed countries, primarily because of the poorer health of children born to women in lower socioeconomic groups. Health experts increasingly are recognizing that shifting to before women become pregnant may be a critical step for improving infants' health. Although early and regular prenatal care is important for identifying and managing risks during pregnancy, maternal chronic disease, substance abuse and other factors that can create risks during pregnancy often begin years before conception.

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring surveys from 1997 to 2012, UCLA's Laura Wherry examined changes in the percentage of mothers who were eligible for state Medicaid programs. She estimated changes in the number of insured mothers prior to and during pregnancy, assessed whether pregnancies were unwanted or mistimed, and examined changes in prenatal care use for associated with Medicaid expansion.

The findings indicate that expanded Medicaid coverage for parents can lead to improvements in health insurance coverage and expanded use of prenatal care, which may have important consequences for their children's health. For instance, for mothers prior to pregnancy gives an opportunity to address risk factors associated with high-risk pregnancies, and to promote behaviors and activities that lead to healthier pregnancies and babies.

The paper will be published Dec. 28 in the journal Health Services Research.

Explore further: Coordinated care organizations lead to more timely prenatal care

Related Stories

Coordinated care organizations lead to more timely prenatal care

July 31, 2017
Pregnant women on Medicaid are more likely to receive timely prenatal care following Oregon's implementation of coordinated care organizations, or CCOs, which are regional networks of health care providers who work together ...

Higher blood sugar in early pregnancy raises baby's heart-defect risk

December 15, 2017
Higher blood sugar early in pregnancy raises the baby's risk of a congenital heart defect, even among mothers who do not have diabetes, according to a study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Prenatal Medicaid benefits boost health gains across generations

November 2, 2017
The expansion of Medicaid to provide low-income women with prenatal care in the 1980s and 1990s was a success in improving birth outcomes.

Medicaid coverage for methadone improves treatment for opioid use disorder in pregnancy

November 14, 2017
Pregnant women with opioid use disorder (OUD) are more likely to receive evidence-based treatment with an "opioid agonist"—usually methadone—in states where those medications are covered by Medicaid, reports a study in ...

Increasing rates of chronic conditions putting more moms, babies at risk

November 7, 2017
Pregnant women today are more likely to have chronic conditions that could cause life-threatening complications than at any other time in the past decade - particularly poor women and those living in rural communities, a ...

Women want support managing their weight during pregnancy

November 2, 2017
Australian women want their healthcare providers to actively advise them about weight management during and after pregnancy, a Monash University study reveals.

Recommended for you

Research finds a little exercise does a lot of good for ageing muscles

May 24, 2018
Getting old doesn't necessarily mean getting weak and frail – just a little bit of exercise can help maintain muscle mass and strength, Otago research has revealed.

Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour

May 24, 2018
A lot can happen at 160 degrees Fahrenheit: Eggs fry, salmonella bacteria dies, and human skin will suffer third-degree burns. If a car is parked in the sun on a hot summer day, its dashboard can hit 160 degrees in about ...

In helping smokers quit, cash is king, e-cigarettes strike out

May 23, 2018
Free smoking cessation aids, such as nicotine patches and chewing gum, are a staple of many corporate wellness programs aimed at encouraging employees to kick the habit. But, new research shows that merely offering such aids ...

What makes us well? Diversity, health care, and public transit matter

May 23, 2018
Diverse neighbors. Health centers. Commuter trains. These community attributes, and other key factors, are linked to well-being and quality of life, according to Yale researchers.

Time spent sitting at a screen matters less if you are fit and strong

May 23, 2018
The impact of screen time on cardiovascular disease, cancer incidence and mortality may be greatest in people who have lower levels of grip-strength, fitness and physical activity, according to a study published in the open ...

Widely used e-cigarette flavoring impairs lung function

May 23, 2018
A new study has found that a common e-cigarette flavoring that has chemical characteristics similar to toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke disrupts an important mechanism of the lungs' antibacterial defense system. The ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.