J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2021 Feb 23. doi: 10.1007/s40615-021-00995-9. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: In the USA, infant mortality remains a major public health concern, particularly for Black women and their infants who continue to experience disproportionately high mortality rates. Prenatal care is a key determinant of infant health, with inadequate prenatal care increasing risk for prematurity, stillbirth, neonatal loss, and infant death. The aim of the present study was to determine if concurrent delivery of patient navigation and behavioral incentives to at-risk Black pregnant women could improve prenatal care attendance and associated maternal and infant outcomes.
METHODS: Participants were 150 Black pregnant women recruited at first prenatal visit and screening at risk for adverse maternal and infant outcomes. Women were randomized to either the patient navigation + behavioral incentives intervention (PNBI) or assessment + standard care control (ASC) group. All were followed throughout pregnancy and 12-week postpartum. Group comparisons were made using intention-to-treat and per-protocol sensitivity analyses.
RESULTS: While no group differences were found in prenatal care visits, the average number of visits for both groups (9.3 for PNBI and 8.9 for ASC) approached the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommended guidelines. There were also no group differences in maternal and infant outcomes. Both intention-to-treat and per-protocol sensitivity analyses, however, consistently found PNBI women attended more postpartum visits than ASC controls (p = 0.002).
CONCLUSIONS: Given ACOG’s redefining of the postpartum period as the fourth trimester, study findings suggest PNBI may facilitate prevention and intervention efforts to more successfully reduce health disparities in outcomes for both mother and infant.