The Effects of Homelessness on Pregnant Mothers and Infants

recent article published by the American Academy of Pediatrics examines the effects of homelessness on the health of pregnant mothers and their infants. As might be expected, the stresses of homelessness have significant negative impacts on the health of mothers and babies.

The study found that among a nationwide sample, four percent of women reported experiencing homelessness within 12 months before pregnancy. Homeless mothers had less prenatal care and well-visits, were less likely to take prenatal vitamins, and were more likely to be underweight or obese. Infants born to homeless mothers had lower birth weights, longer hospital stays, and were more likely to receive neonatal intensive care.

It is also likely that the study underestimated the prevalence of homelessness among pregnant women since the surveys were administered only to women with known mailing addresses and phone numbers. In addition, the study did not indicate whether the homeless mothers were sheltered, unsheltered, or living in doubled-up conditions.

Nonetheless, the scope of the study was larger than many previous studies and continued to confirm the negative impacts of the stresses of homelessness on mothers and babies.

You can view the abstract or purchase the entire article here.