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Does care during pregnancy differ based on patient race in the US?

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In an analysis of perinatal care provided in the United States, investigators found few differences by race for care that was based on guidelines or expert recommendations; however, discretionary care (for which professional recommendations or guidelines do not exist) varied by race.

The analysis, which is published in Birth, included information from the for 7,056 who delivered infants within a large hospital system between 2012 and 2018. Compared with Non-Hispanic white women, Non-Hispanic Black women were 20% less likely to receive a prenatal depression screen and 60% more likely to have a urine drug test when denying drug use, while Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Asian women were 40% and 60% less likely, respectively, to have a urine drug test completed when denying drug use.

"Greater efforts need to be made to identify and mitigate providers' implicit and explicit biases; expanded professional guidelines may offer some protections against inequitable, discretionary care," the authors wrote.

More information: Disparities in the provision of perinatal care based on patient race in the United States, Birth (2023). DOI: 10.1111/birt.12717

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