Good health begins before we are born and can last a lifetime. Likewise, health disparities can begin even before birth. Disparities in access and utilization of health care exist for Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AA and NHPI) women and infants, but do not completely explain disparities in outcomes. Issues such as quality of care, access to culturally and linguistically appropriate services, and women’s health across the lifespan also have a significant impact on the health of mothers and babies. Family characteristics, socioeconomic and geographic contexts, as well as the role of racism in health care1 may also account for variation in outcomes. However, data about these variables cannot tell the whole story. Like many health matters, individual experience and cultural traditions surrounding pregnancy and childbirth are meaningful and important to many AA and NHPI families. The health care system must care for childbearing families with appropriate attention to those
concerns. This fact sheet highlights important maternal health disparities affecting AA and NHPI women including maternal deaths and complications, gestational diabetes, Cesarean delivery and breastfeeding.