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Division of Minority Health and Disparity Elimination

Racial and Ethnic Minority Tennesseans and Prenatal Care

Access to early and regular prenatal care has a direct effect on the health outcomes of both mothers and infants. Babies born to mothers who have not had prenatal care have more health problems (e.g., preterm delivery, low birth weight babies) than babies born to mothers receiving adequate and regular prenatal care. Mothers who have not had regular prenatal care also have more health problems during and after delivery. Providing adequate and regular care to expecting mothers can save both mother and child’s lives.

Many women still do not receive adequate prenatal care due to lack of insurance or insufficient health insurance. Undocumented residents of Tennessee who are expectant mothers often do not seek prenatal care due to fears about deportation. Mothers living in rural areas often do not have local hospital obstetrics units.