Hispanic Heritage Month

From September 15 to October 15 each year, the United States celebrates Hispanics and Latinos, which form the second-largest racial group in the United States after non-Hispanic whites. In fact, during the last 10 years, this group grew from 50.5 million people in 2010 to 62.1 million in 2020 — an increase of 23%.

Health disparities among Hispanic groups

Health disparities are differences in health outcomes for different groups of people. These differences are connected to social, economic and environmental factors. Disparities can affect your health and the care you get to keep yourself healthy. In the United States, the health of most Americans has improved over the last 30 years. However, this has not been the case for all groups.

According to national research, Hispanics experience higher rates of some maternal-fetal complications:

  • Hispanic mothers are 80% as likely to receive late or no prenatal care than non-Hispanic white mothers.
  • As many as 54% of Latinas (about 1 out of 2 people) in the United States have experienced pregnancy-related depression, including postpartum depression.
  • While the rate of low birthweight infants is lower for the total Hispanic population compared to non-Hispanic whites, Puerto Rican Americans have a low birthweight rate that is almost twice that of non-Hispanic whites.
  • Puerto Ricans also disproportionately experience infant loss. In fact, Puerto Ricans have a 20% higher infant mortality rate than non-Hispanic whites. Further, Puerto Rican infants are 2.5 times as likely to die from causes related to maternal complications.
  • From 2018 to March 2020, the number of Hispanic women who died during childbirth increased by 74%.

Reasons for these disparities include:

  • Lack of health insurance and other financial issues
  • Trouble finding healthcare, including culturally appropriate mental health care
  • Cultural and racial biases in the healthcare system
  • Fear that child protective services or immigration agencies will get involved

There is some good news: Data shows that Hispanics and Latinos are living longer than other racial groups. The 2060 life expectancies at birth for Hispanics are 88.2 years for women and 84.8 years for men, compared with 87.4 years for non-Hispanic white women and 84.0 years for non-Hispanic white men.

Ensuring a healthy pregnancy

To help be sure you and your baby are healthy during and after pregnancy, schedule your first prenatal care checkup as soon as you think you’re pregnant. Your provider can make sure you’re healthy, and you can find out your due date. Then, go to all of your prenatal care checkups throughout your pregnancy, even if you’re feeling fine.