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Does Rural Residence Affect Access to Prenatal Care in Oregon?


  • The authors wish to thank Dr. Katherine Bradley, Dr. Ken Rosenberg, Al Sandoval, Lisa Angus, and Andrew Osborne for sharing their knowledge, skills, and support. For further information, contact: Therese Grant, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Washington, 180 Nickerson St., Suite 309, Seattle, WA 98109-1631; e-mail


ABSTRACT: Context: Identifying how maternal residential location affects late initiation of prenatal care is important for policy planning and allocation of resources for intervention. Purpose: To determine how rural residence and other social and demographic characteristics affect late initiation of prenatal care, and how residence status is associated with self-reported barriers to accessing early prenatal care. Methods: This observational study used data from the 2003 Oregon Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) (N = 1,508), with late initiation of prenatal care (after the first trimester) as the primary outcome. We used Rural-Urban Commuting Area (RUCA) codes to categorize maternal residence as urban, large rural, or small/isolated rural. Multivariate logistic regression was used to evaluate whether category of residence was associated with late initiation of prenatal care after adjusting for other maternal factors. Association between categories of barriers to prenatal care and maternal category of residence were determined using the Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel test of association. Findings: We found no significant association between residence category and late initiation of prenatal care, or residence category and barriers to prenatal care initiation. Urban women tended to be over age 34 or nonwhite. Women from large rural areas were more likely to be younger than 18 years, unmarried, and have an unintended pregnancy. Women from small rural areas were more likely to use tobacco during pregnancy. Conclusions: Maternal residence category is not associated with late initiation of prenatal care or with barriers to initiation of prenatal care. Differences in maternal risk profiles by location suggest possible new foci for programs, such as tobacco education in small rural areas.