Youth-led development of a Chatbot to Increase Early Prenatal Care Utilization in Santa Cruz County, Arizona

A TECHNICAL BRIEF on the Arizona Initiative of the Border States CoIIN

The Border States Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN; see inset) Arizona team sought to better understand barriers associated with the initiation of first trimester prenatal care among youth in Santa Cruz County to inform the design of innovative solutions to help overcome these barriers. As part of that effort, the team spoke with over 50 teens and young adults and learned that lack of knowledge about pregnancy status, stigma, fear and shame were primary reasons for not utilizing prenatal services. Several studies support these findings. For example, Selchau et al (2017) found that women in the border region were often unaware of their pregnancy status and therefore did not seek services until later in the pregnancy, especially early prenatal care services. Other reasons include fear and shame associated with unwanted pregnancies, especially for teen mothers; lack of health insurance, work and transportation issues; and, a lack of trust in providers or the health care system.