Preventative Strategies to Improve Birth Outcomes Among African American Women in Rhode Island
Despite increased access to prenatal care, birth outcomes continue to be a major source of disparity among women in the United States. The focus on lifestyle choices and negative behaviors prior to a pregnancy to reduce adverse birth outcomes has become a well-documented strategy. The purpose of this study was to determine if preparing for a pregnancy in advance improves birth outcomes for African American women of childbearing age between the ages of 12 and 45 years in the State of Rhode Island (RI). The theoretical foundation for this study was based on Prochaska's model of change, which is also known as the readiness to change model. This study was conducted using secondary data from the Rhode Island Department of Health PRAMS data set. The research questions determined if African American women received preconception care education at the same rate as White women, if African American women had a higher rate of infant mortality than other races, and if African American women had a higher rate of unintended pregnancies than White women in the state of Rhode Island. Independent t tests and chi square tests were used to answer the research questions. The results indicated a difference between the infant mortality rates for African American women compared to other races as well as a difference between African American women compared to White women with regard to unintentional pregnancies in Rhode Island. However, there was no difference in African American women compared to White women receiving preconception education in the state of Rhode Island. The implications for positive social change include micro- and macro-level changes in support of how planning for a pregnancy in advance can reduce poor birth outcomes.