Introduction: Prior studies have found that women with disabilities are less likely to receive adequate prenatal care than women without disabilities. However, little is known about differences in patterns of prenatal care by type of disability. Therefore, this study examined timing and frequency of prenatal care among women with physical, sensory, or intellectual/developmental disabilities compared with women without disabilities. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study using linked maternal and infant hospital discharge and birth certificate data for all births in California in 2000–2012 (N=6,745,201). Analyses were conducted in 2017–2018. Modified Poisson regression analyses compared women with each type of disability with women without disabilities on trimester of prenatal care initiation and number of prenatal care visits. Results: Women with intellectual/developmental disabilities or with limited hearing had significantly higher RR of delaying prenatal care initiation until the second or third trimester (intellectual/developmental disabilities: adjusted RR=1.21, 95% CI=1.09, 1.33; hearing: adjusted RR=1.11, 95% CI=1.02, 1.21), whereas women with physical disabilities and limited vision had lower risk of delaying care (physical: adjusted RR=0.91, 95% CI=0.88, 0.94; vision: adjusted RR=0.85, 95% CI=0.73, 0.99). Women with limited hearing or vision or intellectual/developmental disabilities had higher risk of receiving fewer prenatal visits than recommended, compared with women without disabilities. Women with physical disabilities or intellectual/developmental disabilities had higher RR of receiving more than the typical number of visits. Conclusions: There were key differences in prenatal care utilization by disability type, reflective of particularly pronounced disparities for women with intellectual/developmental disabilities and women with limited hearing. Delays in receipt of prenatal care and low numbers of prenatal care visits may contribute to the poorer birth outcomes that have been observed previously in these groups. Targeted interventions are needed to improve uptake of prenatal care in these vulnerable populations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health