Document Type

Master's Culminating Experience

Publication Date



Introduction Preterm birth is defined as a baby who is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Problems with preterm birth include an increased risk for health complications throughout life as well as having significantly more medical expenses compared to a full term infant. Prenatal care has shown to decrease the risk for preterm birth nationally. The objective of this project was to analyze prenatal care and other risk and demographic factors to determine their association with preterm birth in Montgomery County.

Method Data used included the 2007-2009 Montgomery County Birth Certificate Data for mothers who had singleton births. The Kessner Index was used to assess the adequacy of prenatal care. Finally, a logistical regression was conducted to determine significant associations between demographic and risk factors with preterm birth.

Results The significant risk factors for preterm birth in Montgomery County included: lower education, prenatal diabetes, prior preterm birth, older maternal age, and African American race. Those who did not have adequate prenatal care were also more likely to have a preterm birth than a full term birth.

Conclusion Overall results of the Kessner index showed that 98.89 % utilized an adequate amount of prenatal care, 0.72% were classified as using an intermediate amount of prenatal care and 0.39% had utilized an inadequate amount of prenatal care. Other findings were consistent with other research except that smoking status, while a risk factor, was not a significant risk factor; this should be researched further. In addition, since inadequate prenatal care was a risk factor for preterm birth, more research is warranted into determining reasons why mothers may not utilize prenatal care.