Acculturation of hispanic women: Effect on prenatal care and gestational age at birth

L. M. Noles, R. S. Mangus, C. E. Hawkins, R. Lowensohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


PURPOSE: Hispanic women may experience barriers in access to health care in the U.S. Inaccessible health care may lead pregnant women to later initiation of prenatal care (PNC), decreased total number of PNC visits, and increased incidence of preterm deliveries. This study assesses the impact of acculturation on prenatal care and pregnancy outcomes among immigrant Hispanic women. METHODS: All women delivering at a large university hospital over a 14-week period had their medical records reviewed and were interviewed by bilingual researchers. Collected data included information regarding demographics, prenatal care, delivery and birth outcomes. Level of acculturation for Hispanic women was defined as minimal (0 to 2 years in U.S.), intermediate (3 to 6 years) and high (7 or more years). Comparisons were made using Kruskal-Wallis and Chisquare statistical tests. RESULTS: Three hundred five women, of the 646 included in the study (50%), classified themselves as being of Hispanic origin, 34% with minimal, 33% with intermediate, and 33% with a high level of acculturation. These three groups did not vary significantly in median gestational age (weeks) at initiation of PNC (13, 12, 12, p=0.33) or in median total PNC visits (10, 11, 10, p=0.19). Neither did they vary in median gestational age (weeks) at delivery (39, 39, 39, p=0.34) or in the incidence of preterm delivery (9%, 6%.,15%, p=0.09). CONCLUSIONS: The level of acculturation in this sample of Hispanic women did not significantly impact the initiation and use of PNC or influence delivery outcome as measured by gestational age. These results suggest that women with minimal and intermediate levels of acculturation access prenatal services at the same rate as long-term U.S. residents and have similar birth outcomes. Factors influencing these results may include aggressive cultural and language-specific clinical outreach programs targeted towards pregnant Hispanic women and a supportive and well-informed immigrant community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89A
JournalJournal of Investigative Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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