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

Parental life span predicts daughters living to 90 without chronic disease or disability

August 15, 2018
Researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine report that women whose mothers lived to at least age 90 were more likely to also live to 90, free of serious diseases and disabilities.

Widespread declines in life expectancy across high income countries coincide with rising young adult, midlife mortality

August 15, 2018
The ongoing opioid epidemic in the United States is a key contributor to the most recent declines in life expectancy, suggests a study published by The BMJ today.

Diets high in vegetables and fish may lower risk of multiple sclerosis

August 15, 2018
People who consume a diet high in vegetables and fish may have a reduced risk of multiple sclerosis, new research led by Curtin University has found.

Can sleeping too much lead to an early death?

August 15, 2018
A recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association has led to headlines that will make you rethink your Saturday morning sleep in.

Eating breakfast burns more carbs during exercise and accelerates metabolism for next meal

August 15, 2018
Eating breakfast before exercise may "prime" the body to burn carbohydrates during exercise and more rapidly digest food after working out, University of Bath researchers have found.

Mixing energy drinks with alcohol could enhance the negative effects of binge drinking

August 14, 2018
A key ingredient of energy drinks could be exacerbating some of the negative effects of binge drinking according to a new study.

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.