New study: Unstable housing during pregnancy ups rehospitalization odds by 170%


The first large-scale, California data-driven study to look at the impact of unstable housing on a women’s risk for preterm birth and increased healthcare utilization was published this week online in American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology MFM. The study’s findings have important implications for policymakers, clinicians and pregnant persons. 

The study conducted by The UCSF California Preterm Birth Initiative analyzed hospital discharge data from approx. 2,300 unstably-housed California women between 2007-2012. 

It found that experiencing housing instability during pregnancy increases the odds of having a preterm birth by 20 percent. (This is comparable to the increased odds associated with smoking during pregnancy). Moreover, it increases the odds of having a longer hospital stay after birth by 60 percent, and ups the odds of hospital readmission within three months after birth by 170 percent. 

These odds should be concerning for policymakers since the cost of hospitalization dwarfs that of housing. The average cost for a month of housing is $1,375 while the average cost for a day of inpatient care is $2,424. In addition, the average cost of hospitalization for a premature and/or low birth weight infant is $55,393 per infant. Policymakers should be aware that preventative measures such as housing and income support during and after pregnancy for women with unstable housing may yield dramatic healthcare cost savings as well as improve birth outcomes.

See News Coverage of the Study

Read the Full Study

Associations between unstable housing, obstetric outcomes, and perinatal health care utilization