The reproductive health of Roma women has been poorly studied. It is important to determine the follow-up care received by Roma women from pregnancy to the first postpartum visit, together with neonatal outcomes, to improve prenatal care and maternal–child outcomes.
The aim of this study was to examine differences in prenatal care and maternal–infant outcomes between Roma and non-Roma women.
A retrospective longitudinal study was conducted in 122 pregnant women (28 Roma and 94 non-Roma women) recruited from seven primary care centers in three districts of Asturias (Spain). Sociodemographic variables, prenatal control, birth characteristics, feeding, and neonatal outcomes (gestational age, weight, and APGAR [appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiration]) were collected from the electronic medical records. Prenatal care was assessed using three indices: the Kessner index, the Modified Adequacy of Prenatal Care Utilization Spanish Index, and an ad hoc index that considered adherence to the recommendations for pregnant women in Spain.
Compared with non-Roma women, advanced maternal age (≥35 years) and primigravida were less common among Roma women. Roma women visited the dentist less often, smoked more, and underwent group B streptococcus screening less frequently. No differences were found in the number of prenatal visits between Roma and non-Roma women. Consequently, there were no differences between the Kessner index and the Modified Adequacy of Prenatal Care Utilization Spanish Index. Using the ad hoc index, the non-Roma women more frequently had adequate prenatal visits. There were no differences in birth characteristics, type of feeding, and neonatal outcomes.
Overall, prenatal care was slightly worse in Roma women; however, this did not imply worse neonatal health outcomes. Both study groups had similar birth characteristics and immediate puerperium, including feeding.