Experts agree that first trimester entry into prenatal care provides the opportunity to identify and address medical and behavioral problems that impact birth outcomes and long term health. However, even nine months of prenatal care may not be sufficient to impact health outcomes. Current science suggests care well before each pregnancy should also be prioritized.
Washington’s first trimester prenatal care rate continues to be challenging. In 2012, Washington’s first trimester prenatal care rate was 73.4% overall, with substantial race/ethnic variation. This rate is below the Healthy People 2020 goal of 77.9%. In addition, American Indian and Alaska Native women and Pacific Islander women have high rates of 3rd trimester or no prenatal care.
- DOH funds the Family Health Hotline to help women find insurance and prenatal care resources.
- WIC and family planning contractors refer women to prenatal care providers.
- DOH and HCA partner to improve first trimester prenatal care for women on Medicaid.
Local health jurisdictions, community service organizations, medical providers, health and social service programs, and women in communities with low rates of first trimester prenatal care entry can partner with us to identify system changes to address delays in care.