Prenatal care has shown to improve infant outcomes. The current standard is entry into prenatal care <14 weeks after conception. The purpose was to evaluate comorbid conditions present in mothers with no, standard, and late entry into prenatal care and differences existing among infants based on mother's prenatal care status.
Prospective comparative descriptive design with consecutive sampling was used to describe differences in maternal comorbid health conditions and infant outcomes in mothers with no prenatal care, early prenatal care (≤14 weeks), or late prenatal care (>14 weeks). The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board.
Midwest nonteaching community medical center.
Medical records of 655 mothers and 703 delivered infants.
We evaluated mothers and births ≥20 weeks gestation or <20 weeks gestation with signs of life at birth regardless of infant outcomes within a 6-month study period. Data were collected as part of normal documentation and retrieved postdelivery. Descriptive statistics and analysis of frequency data were performed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences.
Of the participants, 522 mothers received early care, 136 mothers received late care, and 7 mothers received no care. The sample included 571 White, 56 African American, 15 Hispanic, and 23 other ethnicity mothers, comparing favorably to the regional population estimates. Mothers with early care were significantly older than mothers with late care. The mean gravida/para of mothers with late care was significantly higher than with early care. Mothers with late or no care reported significantly greater use of state funded Medicaid than with early care. Mothers with no care had a significantly higher body mass index as compared with early and late care. Mothers with early care had significantly less report of drug abuse than with late care. Mothers receiving late care had more infants who were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit compared with early care. A significantly higher percentage of mothers with no care delivered by vaginal birth after cesarean compared with early and late care. Mothers with no care compared to early and late care were found to have a significantly higher incidence of gestational diabetes. Oligohydramnios occurred more often in those with late care, and no statistically significant differences were found for the infant outcome variables among groups.
Conclusion/Implications for Nursing Practice
Prenatal care has shown to be important in infant outcomes; however, no statistically significant differences in infant outcomes were identified in this study.