Updated Estimates of the Impact of Prenatal Care on Birthweight Outcomes by Race
This paper estimates a quasi-structural birthweight production function using data on counties for the years 1975-1984. The analysis focuses on the effects of first trimester initiation of prenatal care, controlling for use of abortion services, cigarette smoking, birth order and income. Fixed effects model is used to control for unmeasured differences in health endowments across counties. The results indicate that early first trimester initiation of prenatal care leads to a reduction in low birthweight for both blacks and whites. Differences in use of prenatal care by race explain only a small part of the black-white differences in the fraction of low birthweight births.