Purdue University Graduate School

Maternal Characteristics and Prenatal Care

Reason: Under embargo until I can publish my thesis work in a journal





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Maternal Characteristics and Prenatal Care: Associations with Infant Health and Postpartum Maternal Wellbeing

posted on 2022-11-11, 14:13 authored by Inga Joy NordgrenInga Joy Nordgren


Maternal and infant health continues to be a compelling and urgent topic in the United States with prenatal care at its forefront for prevention of adverse outcomes. This study explored differences in adverse infant birth outcomes (i.e., preterm birth, low birthweight, and NICU stays) and postpartum maternal wellbeing outcomes (i.e., social support, depression, and confidence) related to the sociodemographic and baseline factors of mothers and their prenatal care experiences. 

Data was analyzed from the publicly available Listening to Mothers III dataset. Comprised of 2400 online-survey participants who gave birth to singleton infants in U.S. hospitals between 2011 and 2012. Structural equation modeling was employed with FIML to account for missing data. The model examined mediators of prenatal care (i.e., responsive provider behavior, week of first visit, duration of visits, group prenatal care; GPC) between maternal predictors and outcomes.

Of infants in the sample, 8% were born preterm, 8% were born low birthweight, and 18% were admitted into the NICU. Depression and smoking during pregnancy, as well as participating in GPC, resulted in 15%, 20% and 18% greater proportions of infant NICU stays, respectively. For postpartum maternal wellbeing, participating in GPC increased the proportion of maternal confidence by 18%. Mothers who received responsive provider behavior had higher rates of social support (b = 0.28, p < .001), reported less depression (b = -0.19, p < .001), and felt more confident (b = 0.07, p = .02). 

Findings from this study suggest that the most impactful actions for prenatal care providers to take would be to provide increased support to mothers who identify as needing treatment for depression or smoking during pregnancy to best improve infant health through fewer admissions into the NICU, and to continue to bolster the responsiveness in which providers interact with patients to improve overall postpartum maternal wellbeing. 


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Human Development and Family Studies

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Robert Duncan

Additional Committee Member 2

Kameron Moding

Additional Committee Member 3

German Posada

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