One-fifth (20 percent) of women who have been pregnant say they did not visit their doctors for early prenatal care (within the first three months of pregnancy), according to a national survey of women ranging in age from 18-44. The study, released in conjunction with a partnership between First Response and the March of Dimes, was an extensive examination of women's attitudes and experiences surrounding pregnancy.
The findings are consistent with national birth certificate data from the National Center for Health Statistics (see, the March of Dimes says.

Women who get early and regular health care during pregnancy have healthier babies, are less likely to deliver prematurely (prior to 37 completed weeks of gestation), and are less likely to have other serious problems related to pregnancy, according to the March of Dimes. Premature births are on the rise in the United States and the March of Dimes says one out of eight babies -- or more than 470,000 -- is born prematurely each year.

To draw attention to this serious and common public health problem, the March of Dimes has designated November as Prematurity Awareness Month. During Prematurity Awareness Month, the March of Dimes brings families together to connect, share their personal stories and call for increased federal funding for research.

"With more research, answers can be found to save babies from premature birth," said Robert Lucas, Senior Vice President, Revenue Development, for the March of Dimes. "The March of Dimes wants every newborn to be a healthy, full-term baby." He cited the findings of the survey as important proof that more work has yet to be done to educate expectant mothers on the importance of early prenatal care.

"It is important that women understand how critical early pregnancy detection and care is for the health of the developing fetus," said Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist in private practice in New Haven, Conn. and a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine. She said many people are surprised to learn that several crucial organ systems, including the brain and spinal cord, have already begun to develop even before most women realize they are pregnant.

"Obviously, the earlier you know you are pregnant, the sooner you can take steps to care for yourself and your baby," Dr. Minkin said. She went on to say that with products like the First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test, which tells a woman whether or not she is pregnant as early as five days before her missed period, it is easier than ever for a woman to learn of her pregnancy as soon as possible and take the appropriate steps to care for her baby.

During early prenatal care, a woman and her doctor can discuss her health status, her partner's health, and the health of their close family members; identify medical problems; discuss any medications she is taking; test for cervical cancer and vaginal infections; and make sure she is taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid. All of these factors can impact the health of both mother and baby.

Methodology for the State of Pregnancy in America 2005 Study
Harris Interactive conducted the online survey on behalf of First Response in the United States between January 7 and 18, 2005 among 1,272 women aged 18 ? 44, of whom 723 have been pregnant. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, income and region were weighted where necessary to align with population proportions. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

In theory, with probability samples of this size, one could say with 95 percent certainty that the results for the overall sample have a sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Sampling error for the results of women who have been pregnant is plus or minus 4 percentage points. This sample was not a probability sample.

First Response products
For 20 years, First Response has been helping women determine if they are pregnant. First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test is among the most sensitive pregnancy tests and detects the pregnancy hormone, hCG at significantly lower levels than some other tests. In fact, it can be used five days sooner than the day of the missed period.

Ovulation tests are designed to predict the two most fertile days within a woman's cycle, the time that women are most likely to conceive. First Response Easy-Read Ovulation Test works by indicating when the LH level in a woman's urine increases and triggers ovulation. By helping women determine when these peak fertility days are, First Response Easy-Read Ovulation Test can help women get pregnant sooner.

First Response products are distributed by Church & Dwight, Co. Inc. For more information, please visit First Response online at

Tags: medical

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