Issues

Maternal & Youth Health

There are stark health inequities, by race and ethnicity, in the percentage of women in New Jersey who receive any prenatal care, with Black mothers more than twice as likely to not receive any prenatal care compared to all other racial/ethnic groups.

Embedded within these persistent disparities are the ongoing effects of institutional racism—racism that began with the enslavement of Black people, was embedded in our earliest institutions, and has continued to influence policies and practices ever since, according to the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality.

Of all pregnancy-related deaths in New Jersey between 2009-2013, more than 46 percent were black women — five times that of their white counterparts. Black babies still die at three times the rate of white newborns and women of all races are more likely to lose their lives during childbirth here than in many other states.

Access to early and consistent prenatal care increases the likelihood of having a safe and healthy pregnancy and delivery for both mothers and babies.

Nationwide, more than 77% of women initiate prenatal care in the first trimester of pregnancy. In New Jersey, the rate is 72% and in Mercer County rates of early prenatal care are lower, with 63% of Mercer county mothers and fewer than half of Trenton mothers attending a prenatal visit in the first trimester (2016).

In Trenton, 57.8% of women reported “adequate” prenatal care–care beginning by the end of the fourth month of pregnancy and receiving at least 80% of recommended prenatal visits in 2017. This falls far below rates for Mercer County (71.1%) and New Jersey (72.3%).

In 2015, Trenton had a teen birth rate (age 17 and younger) nearly six times higher than the state average (30.5/1,000 to 5.8/1,000 live births). Having one or more pregnancies before age 17 is often a predictor for poor future educational and economic attainment.

Embedded within these persistent disparities are the ongoing effects of institutional racism—racism that began with the enslavement of Black people, was embedded in our earliest institutions, and has continued to influence policies and practices ever since, according to the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality.

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