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Keywords

African American women; Birth disparities; Birth weight, Low; Enhanced prenatal care; Low birth weight; Medicaid; Poor; Prenatal care; WIC; Women, White

Abstract

North Carolina uses Maternity Care Coordination (MCC), an enhanced prenatal care program, to improve birth outcomes for high risk women. The WIC program provides similar services to achieve the same goal. Women in North Carolina Medicaid can choose to participate in either, both, or neither the MCC and WIC programs. The study compares the percentages of low birth weight (LBW)—less than 2500 grams—births and maternal risk characteristics of women: (1) participating in the MCC program only, (2) participating in WIC only, or (3) participating in both programs, to those women who receive conventional Medicaid prenatal care. The analysis is further stratified to compare the percentage of LBW births and maternal risks between and among African American and non-Hispanic white women. The study finds that women participating in WIC only had the lowest percentage of LBW births. African American women participating in the MCC and/or WIC programs had significantly fewer LBW births than their non-participating counterparts. Among non-Hispanic whites, however, the percentage of LBW births for women participating in MCC or MCC/WIC were similar to women receiving conventional Medicaid prenatal care.