Alarmingly, women and families make up the fasted-growing segments of the homeless population. Yet, it remains unclear how homelessness impacts childbirth. This cross-sectional study, published in JAMA Network Open, examined the differences in childbirth delivery outcomes and costs of care for pregnant women experiencing homelessness and those who were not.
The study included 15,029 homeless pregnant women and 308,242 pregnant women who were not homeless. Hospital databases in three states were used to compare delivery outcomes and hospital stay costs for women treated at the same hospital during the same timeframe.
Ultimately, it was found that mothers who have unstable housing or lack of housing and mothers who do not have different pregnancy and delivery experiences. Preterm labor, high delivery costs, and placental abnormalities were more likely among women experiencing homelessness than those who were not.
The researchers concluded that the homeless women faced significant disparities in their pregnancy and delivery experiences and labor and delivery costs. A call to action is made to screen pregnant patients for homelessness and connect homeless pregnant patients with community health programs and social housing programs to better meet their prenatal healthcare needs .
Source: Yamamoto, A., Gelberg, L., Needleman, J., Kominski, G., Vangala, S., Miyawaki, A., & Tsugawa, Y. (2021). Comparison of childbirth delivery outcomes and costs of care between women experiencing vs. not experiencing homelessness. JAMA Network Open, 4(4), e217491. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.7491