Pregnancy Care

How to Address Differences in Health and Health Outcomes

December 14, 2022  

People who are pregnant or who plan to have a baby may face health disparities that can affect their pregnancy. Health disparities are differences in health care and health outcomes based on social, racial, ethnic and other factors. 

Research comparing non-Hispanic white pregnant people with other groups found: 

  • Non-Hispanic Black women were two to three times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes.
  • Non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic and Asian women had a higher risk of problems during and right after pregnancy.

The good news is that there are steps all members can take to improve their chances of a having a healthy pregnancy and birth!


First, know the factors – called social determinants of health – that may affect your pregnancy. These include: 

  • Low income 
  • Less access to food
  • Less education 
  • Bias based on your immigration status, race, etc.
  • Less access to care 

Tufts Health Plan can help you find resources to help you with these issues. Call the member services number of your ID card and ask for assistance.

Before you are pregnant

At least three months before you start trying to have a baby, you should:

  • Quit smoking
  • Stop drinking alcohol and using recreational drugs 
  • Talk with your provider about the medications and supplements you take. You may need to stop or switch drugs based on the effects they may have on you and your baby.
  • Take a daily prenatal vitamin that has at least 400 milligrams of folic acid

During pregnancy

Getting early and regular prenatal care is one of the most important things you can do to take care of yourself and your baby. Your provider can track your progress and treat low birth weight and many other problems. 

After delivery

Postpartum care is also vital. Your provider can see if you develop problems that can happen in the weeks and months after you give birth. Keep in mind that your body has been through many changes. It can take 6 to 8 weeks to recover. If you had a difficult birth or other problems, it can take more time.

Learn more

Tufts Health Unify Members should contact their care manager.

Tufts Health Unify is a health plan that contracts with both Medicare and MassHealth (Medicaid) to provide benefits of both programs to enrollees.