Homelessness Contributes To Pregnancy Complications

Wednesday, January 9, 2019
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Linda Weinreb, MD
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Julie M. Flahive, MS
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Robert W. Seifert, MPA
Commonwealth Medicine

A new link between homelessness and pregnancy complications has been uncovered by researchers looking to better understand how unstable housing can lead to health risks for mothers and infants. The team of researchers, which included our Robert Seifert from Health Law & Policy, linked data from emergency shelter enrollees with Massachusetts Medicaid claims to compare health care use and pregnancy complications. The team studied data from January 1, 2008 through June 30, 2015.

They found that not only were pregnancy complications more common among the demographic of homeless women, but rates of mental and substance use disorders were significantly higher as well. Researchers believe homelessness and behavioral health disorders are independent factors that contribute to pregnancy complications.