J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2023 Nov 1. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2023.0002. Online ahead of print.
Background: Social determinants of health are important contributors to maternal and child health outcomes. Limited existing research examines the relationship between housing instability during pregnancy and perinatal care utilization. Our objective was to evaluate whether antenatal housing instability is associated with differences in perinatal care utilization and outcomes. Materials and Methods: Participants who were surveyed during their postpartum hospitalization were considered to have experienced housing instability if they answered affirmatively to at least one of six screening items. The primary outcome was adequacy of prenatal care measured by the Adequacy of Prenatal Care Utilization index. Maternal, neonatal, and postpartum outcomes, including utilization and breastfeeding, were also collected as secondary outcomes. Multivariable logistic regression models were adjusted for sociodemographic and clinical covariates. Results: In this cohort (N = 490), 11.2% (N = 55) experienced housing instability during pregnancy. Participants with unstable housing were more likely to have inadequate prenatal care (17.3% vs. 3.9%; odds ratio [OR] 5.11, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.15-12.14, p < 0.001), but findings were not significant after adjustment (aOR 1.72, 95% CI 0.55-5.41, p = 0.35). Similarly, postpartum visit attendance was lower for individuals with unstable housing (79.6% vs. 91.2%), but there was no difference in the odds of the postpartum visit attendance after adjustment (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.29-1.66, p = 0.14). Conclusions: There were no statistically significant association with the maternal, neonatal, and other postpartum secondary outcomes. Housing instability appears to be a risk marker that is related to other social determinants of health. Given the range of housing instability experiences, future research must account for specific types and degrees of housing instability and their potential perinatal consequences.