Health care experiences of pregnant, birthing and postnatal women of color at risk for preterm birth

Chronic stress is a known risk factor for preterm birth, yet little is known about how healthcare experiences add to or mitigate perceived stress. This study, published in Social Science & Medicine, describes the pregnancy-related healthcare experiences of 54 women of color from Fresno, Oakland, and San Francisco, California, with social and/or medical risk factors for preterm birth.

The women in this study perceived their prenatal healthcare as a largely disrespectful and stressful experience. This study adds to the growing literature that women of color experience discrimination, racism and disrespect in healthcare encounters and that they believe this affects their health and that of their infants.


Read the full study,PDF iconRP Experiences SSM 2018.pdf, from Social Science and Medicine, February 2018.



Monica R. McLemore (a,∗), Molly R. Altman (b), Norlissa Cooper (c), Shanell Williams (b), Larry Rand (d), Linda Franck (e)

(a) Family Health Care Nursing Department, University of California
(b) UCSF Preterm Birth Initiative
(c) Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Health Policy, University of California
(d) Marc and Lynne Benioff Endowed Chair in Maternal Fetal Medicine, Director of Perinatal Services, Fetal Treatment Center, University of California, Dept. of Ob/Gyn and Surgery, Divisions of Perinatology and Pediatric Surgery
(e) Department of Family Health Care Nursing, Jack and Elaine Koehn Endowed Chair in Pediatric Nursing, University of California