Utilization of Maternal Health Care Among Immigrant Mothers in New York City, 2016–2018

Sheela Maru, Lily Glenn, Kizzi Belfon, Lauren Birnie, Diksha Brahmbhatt, Max Hadler, Teresa Janevic, Simone Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Immigrant women represent half of New York City (NYC) births, and some immigrant groups have elevated risk for poor maternal health outcomes. Disparities in health care utilization across the maternity care spectrum may contribute to differential maternal health outcomes. Data on immigrant maternal health utilization are under-explored in the literature. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the population-based NYC Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System survey, using 2016–2018 data linked to birth certificate variables, to explore self-reported utilization of preconception, prenatal, and postpartum health care and potential explanatory pathways. We stratified results by maternal nativity and, for immigrants, by years living in the US; geographic region of origin; and country of origin income grouping. Among immigrant women, 43% did not visit a health care provider in the year before pregnancy, compared to 27% of US-born women (risk difference [RD] = 0.16, 95% CI [0.13, 0.20]), 64% had no dental cleaning during pregnancy compared to 49% of US-born women (RD = 0.15, 95% CI [0.11, 0.18]), and 11% lost health insurance postpartum compared to 1% of US-born women (RD = 0.10, 95% CI [0.08, 0.11]). The largest disparities were among recent arrivals to the US and immigrants from countries in Central America, South America, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. Utilization differences were partially explained by insurance type, paternal nativity, maternal education, and race and ethnicity. Disparities may be reduced by collaborating with community-based organizations in immigrant communities on strategies to improve utilization and by expanding health care access and eligibility for public health insurance coverage before and after pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-726
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2021


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