Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Jennifer Rothamel


The benefits of prenatal care (PNC) are extensively documented; however, controversy surrounds the extent to which benefits are experienced among different racial groups. Determining whether PNC influences positive birth outcomes and if advantages differ by race is pertinent to attaining positive health outcomes. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between gestational weight gain (GWG), low birthweight (LBW), and PNC while weighing racial differences. The theoretical foundation was the motivation-facilitation theory of PNC access. Research questions were designed to (a) determine if there was a significant association between GWG and LBW, (b) determine if PNC had a mediating role if GWG was found to be associated with LBW, and (c) determine if PNC was a mediator and if that role differed between races. A quantitative, deductive correlational analysis was carried out using a retrospective observational approach. Spearman correlation showed that the relationship between GWG and LBW was significant (rs = 0.14, p < .001). Binary logistic regression was used for analysis and showed that the overall model was significant, Ï?2(12) = 50.29, p < .001, and that maternal age, race, marital status, GWG, education, body mass index (BMI), cigarette use, and gestational diabetes significantly affected the chances of LBW. Baron and Kenny's mediation analysis supported partial mediation for American Indian or Alaskan Native and Asian or Pacific Islander races and showed that PNC was significantly associated with birthweight. Based on these findings, providers can aim to implement motivational factors to increase the facilitation and use of PNC to decrease adverse birth outcomes and increase population health.