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Black women experience more asthma problems during pregnancy

Among women insured by Tennessee Medicaid (TennCare), pregnant black women with asthma were more likely than pregnant white women with the condition to visit the emergency department (ED), be hospitalized, or need rescue medications for asthma during their pregnancy. Although black women in the TennCare program had similar access to care, they were less likely than whites to receive adequate prenatal care, which may have included less adequate asthma care as well.

Researchers, supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS10384), studied 4,315 pregnant women with asthma insured by TennCare. Overall, 61 percent of black women and 55 percent of white women were classified as having high-risk asthma. Black women (35 percent) received less than adequate prenatal care during their pregnancy compared to white women (25 percent).

Nearly 20 percent of black women and 14 percent of white women filled a prescription for inhaled anti-inflammatory agents. Black women were more likely than white women to receive at least one course of rescue corticosteroids (15 percent vs. 12 percent), have an ED visit (17 percent vs. 9 percent), or be hospitalized (9 percent vs. 5 percent) for asthma.

See "Racial differences in asthma morbidity during pregnancy," by Kecia N. Carroll, M.D., M.P.H., Marie R. Griffin, M.D., M.P.H., Tebeb Gebretsadik, M.P.H., and others, in the July 2005 Obstetrics & Gynecology 106(1), pp. 66-72.

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