Women’s Perspectives of Needs Surrounding Adverse Birth Outcomes: A Qualitative Assessment of the Neighborhood Impact of Adverse Birth Outcomes

K. Harper-Hanigan, G. Ross, T. Sims, K. Trotter, Jack Turman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives African Americans are two times more likely to suffer adverse birth outcomes (i.e., low birth weight, preterm birth, and infant mortality) when compared to all other ethnic groups and this pattern is no different for Douglas County, Nebraska, where the majority of African Americans in Nebraska reside. Our goal was to identify factors, as described by local women, that contribute to adverse birth outcomes in the predominantly African American community of Northeast Douglas County in Omaha, NE, to ensure that these women’s voices were included in the development of interventions to improve their neighborhood’s birth outcomes. The paper describes the results of a qualitative needs assessment of these women which will aid in the design and implementation of neighborhood-based solutions. Methods We brought together a group of women with varying levels of birthing experience, time spent living in the neighborhood, and overall community involvement. Individual in-depth, in person, and telephone interviews were used to collect participants’ perceptions of birth outcomes, neighborhood resources for pregnant women, and neighborhood strengths and weaknesses. Results The needs assessment identified that, although women in this neighborhood have experience with adverse birth outcomes, these experiences are not discussed resulting in a lack of awareness of the wide spread racial disparities in birth outcomes and the efforts and resources to address this public health problem. Conclusions for Practice This study reveals the power of direct conversations with women impacted by adverse birth outcomes, as they must be primary partners in any efforts to improve birth outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2219-2228
Number of pages10
JournalMaternal and Child Health Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • African American
  • Birth outcomes
  • Needs assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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