The number of births to women who initiated prenatal care during the first trimester of pregnancy (before 13 weeks gestation), expressed as a percentage of all live births within each racial and ethnic group.
Early, high-quality prenatal care is critical to reducing risks for complications of pregnancy or birth and improving birth outcomes.
In 2017, 74% of African American women, 75% of Hispanic women, 82% of Asian women and 80% of white women who gave birth received early prenatal care. These were similar rates as the state, with the exception of white and Asian mothers in Essex County, whose rates were each a bit lower.
In 2017, Essex County's rates were fairly similar to Lake, IL, Westchester, NY and Middlesex, MA. Essex County's rates were higher among African American mothers than rates in Lake and Westchester and on par with Middlesex, MA.
The rate excludes the number of live births for which the date of entry into prenatal care is unknown. In addition to considering when prenatal care began, it is also important to understand the quality and continuity of care received throughout the pregnancy.