Women who deliver preterm infants are at a much greater risk for repeating a preterm birth (PTB), compared to women without a history of PTB. However, little is known about the prevalence of the risk factors which account for this markedly increased risk. Moreover, little or nothing is known about the feasibility of providing treatments and services to these women, outside of the context of prenatal care, during the inter-conception period, which provides the best opportunity for successful risk-reduction interventions.
The Philadelphia Collaborative Preterm Prevention Project (PCPPP), a large randomized control trial designed to identify and reduce six major risk factors for a repeat preterm birth among women immediately following the delivering of a preterm infant. For the women assigned to the PCPPP treatment group, we calculated the prevalence of the six risk factors in question, the percentages of women who agreed to receive high quality risk-appropriate treatments or services, and the of rates of participation among those who were offered and eligible for these treatments or services.
Urogenital tract infections were identified in 57% of the women, while 59% were found to have periodontal disease. More than 39% were active smokers, and 17% were assessed with clinical depression. Low literacy, and housing instability were identified in, 22 and 83% of the study sample, respectively. Among women eligible for intervention, the percentages who accepted and at least minimally participated in treatment ranged from a low of 28% for smoking, to a high of 85% for urogenital tract infection. Most PCPPP enrollees (57%) had three or more major risk factors. Participation rates associated with the PCPPP treatments or services varied markedly, and were quite low in some cases, despite considerable efforts to reduce the barriers to receiving care.
The efficacy of individual level risk-reduction efforts designed to prevent preterm/repeat preterm in the pre- or inter-conception period may be limited if participation rates associated with interventions to reduce major risk factors for PTB are low. Achieving adequate participation may require identifying, better understanding, and eliminating barriers to access, beyond those associated with cost, transportation, childcare, and service location or hours of operation.
Prematurity; Preterm birth; Pregnancy; Perinatal periods of risk; Health care participation; Infant mortality; Preventive care; Access to care; Utilization of care; Preconception care
We compared health behaviors and health outcomes among US-born, African-born, and Caribbean-born pregnant Black women and examined whether sociodemographic and psychosocial characteristics explained differences among these population subgroups.
We analyzed data from a prospective cohort study conducted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with a series of nested logistic regression models predicting tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use and measures of physical and mental health.
Foreign-born Black women were significantly less likely to engage in substance use and had better self-rated physical and mental health than did native-born Black women. These findings were largely unchanged by adjustment for sociodemographic and psychosocial characteristics. The foreign-born advantage varied by place of birth: it was somewhat stronger for African-born women than for Caribbean-born women.
Further studies are needed to gain a better understanding of the role of immigrant selectivity and other characteristics that contribute to more favorable health behaviors and health outcomes among foreign-born Blacks than among native-born Blacks in the United States.
To assess associations among maternal childhood experiences and subsequent parenting attitudes and use of infant spanking (IS), and determine if attitudes mediate the association between physical abuse exposure and IS.
We performed a prospective study of women who received prenatal care at community health centers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Sociodemographic characteristics, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), attitudes toward corporal punishment (CP), and IS use were assessed via face-to-face interviews, conducted at the first prenatal care visit, 3 months postpartum, and 11 months postpartum. Bivariate and multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted.
The sample consisted of 1265 mostly black, low-income women. Nineteen percent of the participants valued CP as a means of discipline, and 14% reported IS use. Mothers exposed to childhood physical abuse and verbal hostility were more likely to report IS use than those not exposed (16% vs 10%, P = .002; 17% vs 12%, P = .02, respectively). In the adjusted analyses, maternal exposure to physical abuse, other ACEs, and valuing CP were independently associated with IS use. Attitudes that value CP did not mediate these associations.
Mothers who had childhood experiences of violence were more likely to use IS than mothers without such experiences. Intergenerational transmission of CP was evident. Mothers who had experienced physical abuse as a child, when compared to those who had not, were 1.5 times more likely to use IS. Child discipline attitudes and maternal childhood experiences should be discussed early in parenting in order to prevent IS use, particularly among at-risk mothers.
physical punishment; adverse childhood experiences; positive influences in childhood; Adult-Adolescent Parenting Inventory
To describe pregnancy intention and contraceptive use among women with a recent delivery that occurred at 35 weeks gestation or fewer and who were enrolled in a large-scale randomized control trial.
In this descriptive study we used data from assessments conducted at 6 months postpartum as part of a randomized controlled clinical trial, the Philadelphia Collaborative Preterm Prevention Project (PCPPP).
Participants and Setting
Participants were recruited following a preterm birth (PTB) in one of the 12 urban birth hospitals. All women enrolled in PCPPP, who completed their 6-month postpartum assessment, and who were sexually active at the time of that assessment (n = 566), were included in the analysis.
Data were collected during face-to-face interviews. Study questionnaires included questions about participants' plans for the timing of subsequent pregnancies, contraceptive behaviors, and other health variables.
Nearly all of the participants (90.1%, n = 509) reported they did not want to get pregnant within one year of the index PTB. However, more than one half of these women (54.6%) reported contraceptive practices of low or moderate effectiveness. Most predictive of intending another pregnancy within the year was the death of the index PTB infant (odds ratio [OR]= 18.2,95% confidence interval [CI] [8.9, 37.0]).
Discordant pregnancy intention and contraceptive use were reported among this group of mothers of PTB infants who are at particularly high risk for a poor outcome of any subsequent pregnancy. The findings highlight the need for further investigation of the causes, correlates, and consequences of discordant pregnancy intentions and contraceptive practices.
preterm prevention; postpartum; prematurity risks; pregnancy intention; Philadelphia Collaborative; Preterm Prevention; Project; interconception care; unintended pregnancies; contraceptive use
Perceived discrimination is associated with poor mental health and health-compromising behaviors in a range of vulnerable populations, but this link has not been assessed among pregnant women. We aimed to determine whether perceived discrimination was associated with these important targets of maternal health care among low-income pregnant women.
Face-to-face interviews were conducted in English or Spanish with 4,454 multi-ethnic, low-income, inner-city women at their first prenatal visit at public health centers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, from 1999 to 2004. Perceived chronic everyday discrimination (moderate and high levels) in addition to experiences of major discrimination, depressive symptomatology (CES-D ≥23), smoking in pregnancy (current), and recent alcohol use (12 months before pregnancy) were assessed by patient self-report.
Moderate everyday discrimination was reported by 873 (20%) women, high everyday discrimination by 238 (5%) women, and an experience of major discrimination by 789 (18%) women. Everyday discrimination was independently associated with depressive symptomatology (moderate = PR 1.58, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.38-1.79, high = PR 1.82, 95% CI 1.49-2.21); smoking (moderate = PR 1.19, 95% CI 1.05-1.36, high = PR 1.41, 95% CI 1.15-1.74); and recent alcohol use (moderate = PR 1.23, 95% CI 1.12-1.36). However, major discrimination was not independently associated with these outcomes.
This study demonstrated that perceived chronic everyday discrimination, but not major discrimination, was associated with depressive symptoms and health-compromising behaviors independent of potential confounders, including race and ethnicity, among pregnant low-income women. (BIRTH 37:2 June 2010)
alcohol drinking; depression; discrimination (psychology); health behavior; pregnant women; prenatal care; smoking
The purpose of this study was to assess the contribution of depressive symptoms and poor contraceptive use early in the first postpartum year to the risk of unintended repeat pregnancy at the end of that year among adults with low educational status (< 12th grade or equivalence).
This was a prospective observational cohort study of 643 sexually active, low-income, inner-city adult women (age ≥ 19) who enrolled prenatally (14.7 ± 6.9 weeks gestational age) and were followed twice after delivery (3.3 ± 1.3 months and 11.0 ± 1.3 months). Associations were assessed by multivariate logistic regression.
Low educational status (odds ratio, 2.32; 95% CI, 1.25-4.33) and less effective contraceptive use (odds ratio, 2.31; 95% CI, 1.05-4.51) were associated with unintended pregnancy. Neither depressive symptoms nor contraceptive use reduced the risk of pregnancy that was associated with low educational status.
Low educational status was associated with more than twice the risk of unintended pregnancy 1 year after delivery. We found no evidence that depression or poor contraceptive use mediate this relationship.
Fertility control; Postpartum period; Educational status; Contraception; Depressive symptom; Pregnancy interval
Appropriate measurement of socioeconomic status (SES) in health research can be problematic. Conventional SES measures based on ‘objective’ indicators such as income, education, or occupation may have questionable validity in certain populations. The objective of this investigation was to determine if a relatively new measurement of SES, subjective social status (SSS), was more consistently and strongly associated with multiple health outcomes for low income mothers. Data available from a large scale community-based study examining maternal and infant health for a low income urban population were used to examine relationships between SSS and a wide range of postpartum physical and emotional health outcomes. Crosstabulations and multivariate analyses focused on the breadth and depth of these relationships; in addition, the relative strength of the relationships between SSS and the health outcomes was compared to that of conventional measures of SES, including both income and education. SSS was significantly related to all physical and emotional health outcomes examined. The overall pattern of findings indicated that these relationships were independent of, as well as more consistent and stronger than, those between conventional measures of SES and postpartum health outcomes. SSS represents an important dimension of the relationship between SES and postpartum physical and emotional health. In low income populations the failure to account for this dimension likely underestimates the influence of SES on postpartum health. This has important implications for the interpretation of findings in empirical studies which seek to control for the effects of SES on maternal health outcomes.
Subjective social status; Socioeconomic status; Maternal health outcomes; Postpartum health; Low-income mothers
Objectives. To determine rate and factors associated with small-for-gestational-age (SGA) births to women with HIV. Methods. Prospective data were collected from 183 pregnant women with HIV in an urban HIV prenatal clinic, 2000–2011. An SGA birth was defined as less than the 10th or 3rd percentile of birth weight distribution based upon cut points developed using national vital record data. Bivariate analysis utilized chi-squared and t-tests, and multiple logistic regression analyses were used. Results. The prevalence of SGA was 31.2% at the 10th and 12.6% at the 3rd percentile. SGA at the 10th (OR 2.77; 95% CI, 1.28–5.97) and 3rd (OR 3.64; 95% CI, 1.12–11.76) percentiles was associated with cigarette smoking. Women with CD4 count >200 cells/mm3 at the first prenatal visit were less likely to have an SGA birth at the 3rd percentile (OR 0.29; 95% CI, 0.10–0.86). Women taking NNRTI were less likely to have an SGA infant at the 10th (OR 0.28; 95% CI, 0.10–0.75) and 3rd (OR 0.16; 95% CI, 0.03–0.91) percentiles compared to those women on PIs. Conclusions. In this cohort with high rates of SGA, severity of HIV disease, not ART, was associated with SGA births after adjusting for sociodemographic, medication, and disease severity.
We describe participation rates in a special interconceptional care program that addressed all commonly known barriers to care, and identify predictors of the observed levels of participation in this preventive care service.
A secondary analysis of data from women in the intervention arm of an interconceptional care clinical trial in Philadelphia (n = 442). Gelberg-Andersen Behavioral Model for Vulnerable Populations to Health Services (herein called Andersen model) was used as a theoretical base. We used a multinomial logit model to analyze the factors influencing women's level of participation in this enhanced interconceptional care program.
Although common barriers were addressed, there was variable participation in the interconceptional interventions. The Andersen model did not explain the variation in interconceptional care participation (Wald ch sq = 49, p = 0.45). Enabling factors (p = 0.058), older maternal age (p = 0.03) and smoking (p = < 0.0001) were independently associated with participation.
Actively removing common barriers to care does not guarantee the long-term and consistent participation of vulnerable women in preventive care. There are unknown factors beyond known barriers that affect participation in interconceptional care. New paradigms are needed to identify the additional factors that serve as barriers to participation in preventive care for vulnerable women.
Prematurity; Preterm birth; African American women; Pregnancy; Perinatal periods of risk; Health care participation; Infant mortality; Preventive care; Access to care; Utilization of care; Preconception care
We determined the prevalence of first lifetime use of cigarettes during pregnancy or in the early postpartum period (incident smoking) and identified sociodemographic and health-related characteristics of incident smokers.
We used statistics based on data from a longitudinal study of a large cohort of pregnant, low-income, urban women (n=1,676) to describe the timing of first-time use and to compare incident smokers with those who had never smoked and those who had already smoked prior to pregnancy.
About one in 10 (10.2%) women who had not previously smoked initiated cigarette smoking during pregnancy or in the early postpartum period. Compared with those who had never smoked, incident smokers were more likely to report high levels of stress and to have elevated levels of depressive symptomatology, which may be rooted in relatively poor social and economic conditions.
A significant number of women may be initiating smoking during pregnancy or in the early postpartum period. These women have characteristics that are consistent with the risk factors associated with smoking. Further research is warranted to determine prevalence in other populations, identify the risk factors for incident smoking, and assess the potential for primary prevention efforts designed to help women who had previously avoided cigarette use to remain smoke-free throughout pregnancy and in the postpartum period.
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are risk factors for health problems later in life. This study aims to 1) assess the influence of ACEs on risky health behaviors among mothers-to-be, and 2) determine whether a dose response occurs between ACEs and risky behaviors.
Prospective survey of women attending health centers conducted at the first prenatal care visit, and 3 and 11 months postpartum. Surveys obtained information on maternal sociodemographic and health characteristics, and 7 ACEs prior to age 16. Risky behaviors included smoking, alcohol use, marijuana use and other illicit drug use during pregnancy.
Our sample (n=1,476) consisted of low-income (mean annual personal income: $8272), young (mean age: 24 yrs), African American (71%), single (75%) women.
Twenty-three percent of women reported smoking even after finding out they were pregnant, 7% reported alcohol use, and 7% reported illicit drug use during pregnancy. Nearly three-fourths (71%) had one or more ACE(s). There was a higher prevalence of each risky behavior among those exposed to each ACE than among those unexposed. The exception was alcohol use during pregnancy where there was not an increased risk among those exposed when compared to those unexposed to witnessing a shooting or having a guardian in trouble with the law or in jail. The adjusted odds ratio for each risky behavior was greater than 2.5 for those with ≥ 3 ACEs when compared to those without.
ACEs were associated with risky health behaviors reported by mothers-to-be. Greater efforts should target the prevention of ACEs to lower the risk for adverse health behaviors that have serious consequences for adults and their children.
risky health behaviors; smoking in pregnancy; adverse childhood experiences; childhood adversity
Despite the promotion of breastfeeding as the “ideal” infant feeding method by health experts, breastfeeding continues to be less common among low-income and minority mothers than among other women. This paper investigates how maternal socio-demographic and infant characteristics, household environment, and health behaviors are related to breastfeeding initiation and duration among low-income, inner-city mothers, with a specific focus on differences in breastfeeding behavior by race/ethnicity and nativity status.
Using data from a community-based, longitudinal study of women in Philadelphia, PA (N=1,140), we estimate logistic regression and Cox proportional hazard models to predict breastfeeding initiation and duration.
Both foreign-born black mothers and Hispanic mothers (most of whom were foreign-born) were significantly more likely to breastfeed their infants than non-Hispanic white women, findings that were partly explained by foreign-born and Hispanic mothers’ prenatal intention to breastfeed. In contrast to previous studies, we also found that native-born black women were more likely to breastfeed than non-Hispanic white women.
Our findings suggest that when poor whites and African Americans are similarly situated in an inner-city context, the disparity in their behavior with respect to infant feeding is not as distinct as documented in national surveys. Breastfeeding was also more common among low-income immigrant black women than white or native-born black mothers.
Breastfeeding; Inner-city; Nativity; Race/Ethnicity; SES
The study of neighborhood effects on health and wellbeing has regained prominence in recent years. Most authors have relied on Census data and other administrative data sources to assess neighborhood characteristics. Less commonly employed, but gaining in popularity, are measures from surveys which ask neighborhood residents about various aspects of their neighborhood environment. Such surveys are a potentially attractive alternative or augmentation to administrative data sources.
Using data from a study of neighborhood effects on pregnancy outcomes among low income, inner city women in Philadelphia, PA (N=3,988), we examined psychometric and ecometric properties of scales used to assess perceptions of crime and safety, physical disorder and social disorder, and estimated effects of individual and neighborhood level predictors on perceptions.
The three perceived neighborhood disorder scales had high internal consistency and good neighborhood level reliability. Several individual attributes of the women predicted perceptions of neighborhood disorder controlling for neighborhood level characteristics (within census tract, fixed-effect estimates). In addition, our objective indicators of neighborhood crime, physical and social disorder were highly significant predictors of women's perceptions, explaining over 70% of the between neighborhood variation in perceptions.
When data on objective neighborhood characteristics are unavailable the inclusion of questions about residents' perceptions of neighborhood conditions in surveys of inner city residents provides a useful alternative to characterize neighborhood conditions.
Recruitment and retention of patients for randomized control trial (RCT) studies can provide formidable challenges, particularly with minority and underserved populations. Data are reported for the Philadelphia Collaborative Preterm Prevention Project (PCPPP), a large RCT targeting risk factors for repeat preterm births among women who previously delivered premature (< 35 weeks gestation) infants.
Design of the PCPPP incorporated strategies to maximize recruitment and retention. These included an advanced database system tracking follow-up status and assessment completion rates; cultural sensitivity training for staff; communication to the community and eligible women of the benefits of participation; financial incentives; assistance with transportation and supervised childcare services; and reminder calls for convenient, flexibly scheduled appointments. Analyses reported here: 1) compare recruitment projections to actual enrollment 2) explore recruitment bias; 3) validate the randomization process 4) document the extent to which contact was maintained and complete assessments achieved 5) determine if follow-up was conditioned upon socio-economic status, race/ethnicity, or other factors.
Of eligible women approached, 1,126 (77.7%) agreed to participate fully. Of the 324 not agreeing, 118 (36.4%) completed a short survey. Consenting women were disproportionately from minority and low SES backgrounds: 71.5% consenting were African American, versus 38.8% not consenting. Consenting women were also more likely to report homelessness during their lifetime (14.6% vs. 0.87%) and to be unmarried at the time of delivery (81.6% versus 47.9%). First one-month postpartum assessment was completed for 83.5% (n = 472) of the intervention group (n = 565) and 76% (426) of the control group. Higher assessment completion rates were observed for the intervention group throughout the follow-up. Second, third, fourth and fifth postpartum assessments were 67.6% vs. 57.5%, 60.0% vs. 48.9%, 54.2% vs. 46.3% and 47.3% vs. 40.8%, for the intervention and control group women, respectively. There were no differences in follow-up rates according to race/ethnicity, SES or other factors. Greater retention of the intervention group may reflect the highly-valued nature of the medical and behavior services constituting the intervention arms of the Project.
Findings challenge beliefs that low income and minority women are averse to enrolling and continuing in clinical trials or community studies.
In populations where the majority of pregnancies occur to unmarried women, exploring the quality of partner relationships and reproductive health is warranted. This study assesses differences in psychosocial characteristics, health behaviors, and birth outcomes between unmarried pregnant women who reported having a ‘good’ relationship with their baby's father, compared to those who reported having a ‘fair’ or ‘poor’ relationship with their baby's father. This research was part of a prospective study of low-income urban women. All unmarried women (n = 3,633) enrolled during their first prenatal visit were asked questions designed to differentiate between being in a good, fair or poor relationship with the baby's father. The worse the quality of the relationship, the worse the outcome, with dose–response associations between the quality of the relationship, emotional health, health behaviors, and birthweight. Compared to women in good relationships, those in poor relationships were more likely to have depressive symptoms (aPR 1.93; 95% CI: 1.65, 2.25), stress (aPR 1.24; 95% CI: 1.14, 1.35), use drugs (aPR 1.34; 95% CI: 1.11, 1.61) and smoke (aPR 1.28; 95% CI: 1.10, 1.49). Although infants born to mothers in poor relationships had the highest rate of low birth weight, the differences were not significant. Delving beyond marital status to assess the quality of partner relationships among unmarried mothers is important. Further research is needed to understand the complex interplay of individual, social and environmental factors promoting or hindering stable and supportive partner relationships among socially disadvantaged populations of pregnant women.
Unmarried mothers; Low income; African American mothers; Maternal health; Partner Relationship quality
To determine the value of maternal height and weight data on birth certificate records when estimating prevalence of overweight and obese adults at the neighborhood level.
Research Design and Methods
Regression analysis was used to determine how much variation in the percentage of the adult population with a body mass index (BMI) of ≥ 25 (based on survey data) could be accounted for by the percentage of mothers with BMI ≥ 25 (based on birth certificate data) -- alone and in combination with other sociodemographic characteristics of census tracts.
Alone, the percentage of mothers with BMI ≥ 25 explained more than half (R2 = .52) of the variation in the percentage of all residents in census tracts with BMI ≥ 25; in combination with several measures of the sociodemographic characteristics of the census tracts, 75% ( R2 = 75.2) of the variation is explained.
Maternal height and weight data available from birth certificate records may be useful for identifying neighborhoods with relatively high or low prevalence of adult residents who are overweight or obese. This is especially true if used in combination with readily available census data.
Although heterogeneity in the timing and persistence of maternal depressive symptomatology has implications for screening and treatment as well as associated maternal and child health outcomes, little is known about this variability. A prospective observational study of 1,735 low-income, multiethnic, inner-city women recruited in pregnancy from 2000 to 2002 and followed prospectively until 2004 (1 prenatal and 3 postpartum interviews) was used to determine whether distinct trajectories of depressive symptomatology can be defined from pregnancy through 2 years postpartum. Analysis was carried out through general growth mixture modeling. A model with 5 trajectory classes characterized the heterogeneity seen in the timing and magnitude of depressive symptoms among the study participants from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. These classes included the following: 1) always or chronic depressive symptomatology (7%); 2) antepartum only (6%); 3) postpartum, which resolves after the first year postpartum (9%); 4) late, present at 25 months postpartum (7%); and 5) never having depressive symptomatology (71%). Women in these trajectory classes differed in demographic (nativity, education, race, parity) health, health behavior, and psychosocial characteristics (ambivalence about pregnancy and high objective stress). This heterogeneity should be considered in maternal depression programs. Additional research is needed to determine the association of these trajectory classes with maternal and child health outcomes.
depression; longitudinal studies; postpartum period; pregnant women
For more than two decades, prenatal care has been a cornerstone of our nation’s strategy for improving pregnancy outcomes. In recent years, however, a growing recognition of the limits of prenatal care and the importance of maternal health before pregnancy has drawn increasing attention to preconception and internatal care. Internatal care refers to a package of healthcare and ancillary services provided to a woman and her family from the birth of one child to the birth of her next child. For healthy mothers, internatal care offers an opportunity for wellness promotion between pregnancies. For high-risk mothers, internatal care provides strategies for risk reduction before their next pregnancy. In this paper we begin to define the contents of internatal care. The core components of internatal care consist of risk assessment, health promotion, clinical and psychosocial interventions. We identified several priority areas, such as FINDS (family violence, infections, nutrition, depression, and stress) for risk assessment or BBEEFF (breastfeeding, back-to-sleep, exercise, exposures, family planning and folate) for health promotion. Women with chronic health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, or weight problems should receive on-going care per clinical guidelines for their evaluation, treatment, and follow-up during the internatal period. For women with prior adverse outcomes such as preterm delivery, we propose an internatal care model based on known etiologic pathways, with the goal of preventing recurrence by addressing these biobehavioral pathways prior to the next pregnancy. We suggest enhancing service integration for women and families, including possibly care coordination and home visitation for selected high-risk women. The primary aim of this paper is to start a dialogue on the content of internatal care.
Preconception care; Internatal care; Content; Preterm birth; Interpregnancy