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  1. Lee, Hyunjung PhD, MS, MPP, MBA
  2. Singh, Gopal K. PhD, DPS, MS, MSc


Background: The 2014 Medicaid expansion improved racial and ethnic equity in insurance coverage and access to maternal care among women of reproductive age. This study examines differential effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on prenatal care utilization by Medicaid expansion and by race and ethnicity.


Methods: Using the pooled 2019-2020 National Natality file (N = 7 361 190), logistic regression was used to estimate the effect of COVID-19 on prenatal care utilization among US women aged 10 to 54 years after controlling for maternal age, race, ethnicity, marital status, parity, nativity/immigrant status, education, payment type, and smoking during pregnancy. Outcome measures were having no care and delayed prenatal care (third trimester or no care). Stratified models by race/ethnicity and Medicaid expansion status yielded the differential effects of COVID-19 on prenatal care utilization.


Results: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the adjusted odds of having no prenatal care decreased by 4% (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.96; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.94-0.97) in expansion states but increased by 13% (AOR = 1.13; 95% CI, 1.11-1.15) in nonexpansion states. While most racial and ethnic groups in expansion states experienced a decrease in having no prenatal care, the adjusted odds of having no prenatal care increased by 15% for non-Hispanic Whites, 9% for non-Hispanic Blacks, 33% for American Indians/Alaska Natives, 25% for Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 13% for Hispanics in nonexpansion states. Women in expansion states experienced no change in delayed prenatal care during the pandemic, but women in nonexpansion states experienced an increase in delayed care.


Conclusions: Prenatal care utilization decreased during the pandemic among women in nonexpansion states, particularly for American Indians/Alaska Natives and Asian/Pacific Islanders, compared with expansion states.