Differences Between Black and White Women in the Use of Prenatal Care Technologies

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the content of prenatal care received by black and white women in the United States differs, as measured by the use of amniocentesis, ultrasonography, and tocolysis.

STUDY DESIGN

This study uses data from birth certificates issued for births occurring in the United States in 1990. Multivariate analyses were used to calculate the relative risk of receipt of each technology by black women compared with white women.

RESULTS

Amniocentesis was used substantially less frequently by black women (relative risk 0.6), whereas ultrasonography was received by black women slightly less frequently than white women (relative risk 0.9). Tocolysis use varied by plurality. Black women with singleton births were slightly more likely to receive tocolysis than were white women (relative risk 1.1), although the risk of idiopathic preterm delivery is estimated to be three times higher in black women. Black women with multiple births received tocolysis two thirds as often as white women.

CONCLUSIONS

These results suggest that differences exist in the content of prenatal care received by black and white women in the United States. This finding should be followed up with more detailed studies to identify its cause and possible interventions. (AM J OBSTET GYNECOL 1994;170:41-6.)

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