Economic Evaluation


 Provide a critical analysis of the article “How much money can early prenatal care for teen pregnancies save?: a cost-benefit analysis” Journal of American Board of Fam. Medicine, 21(3), 184-190. by Hueston,W.J., Quattlebaum, R.G. and Benich,JJ 2008.
Summarize the research questions and analytical strategies used. What kind of perspective is assumed by the authors in conducting their cost-benefit analysis? Describe key assumptions, cost and benefit measures employed by the authors. Provide an overall critique of the article (strengths and weaknesses)and evaluate the contributions of the research to the literature. Support the analysis and recommendations with additional relevant studies from the literature.


Economics Evaluation

Teens often undergo a lot of financial crises when they get an unexpected pregnancy. It becomes a challenge for obtaining prenatal care and for having low-birth-weight deliveries (Bhutta et al., 2012; Docherty et al., 2015). The rate of pregnant teens is still having the highest number in the developed world. And as such, it is necessary for the teens to cut on cost in order to save enough money to obtain prenatal care in a timely manner. An alternative would be to reduce pregnancies rate in this population and prioritizing the prevention of preterm births (Hueston et al., 2008; Bhutta et al., 2013). This paper provides a critical analysis of the article “How much money can early prenatal care for teens save?: a cost-benefit analysis” (Hueston et al., 2008).

By and large, the researcher developed research questions to help in the analysis of the hypothesis and find out the amount of money that early prenatal care for teen pregnancies can save. The researcher employed both qualitative and quantitative research techniques in developing the paper. A summary of the research questions include but not limited to:

  1. To find out the relationship between low birth rates and cesarean delivery rates in the United States.
  2. To explore how changes in health care delivery might alter the cost of prenatal care
  3. To determine the price threshold in which a hypothetical program that could decrease the number of teens can break heaven
  4. To determine the overall average cost ranging from one month to no care at all

The strategies employed by the researcher in analyzing quantitative data involve developing models that depict precisely the situation under study in the research. This technique is useful in analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data when using interpretive approaches. The researcher employed the following analytical approaches in the health-related research: Content Analysis approach; narrative analysis, and approaches to the analysis of the interaction between healthcare providers and pregnant teens. The researcher used the tabulation technique to organize quantitative data and modeling technique to analyze quantitative data based on their level of measurement.

The author approached the subject from the perception of payer and time horizon of 1 year for payment of prenatal care because the medical cost of most teens is covered by Medicaid programs. On the same note, the Medicaid budgets typically span for one year.

Some of the key assumptions in this research include:

  1. Prenatal visit by pregnant teens is once per month until the 7th In the first four months, the patient undergoes two screening ultrasound, maternal screening to find out if there are neural tube defects, screening of group B streptococcus and gestational diabetes.
  2. Prenatal visits after month 5-6 are twice per month. The physician performs one screening ultrasound, screening for group B streptococcus and screening for gestational diabetes.
  3. Prenatal visits after the 7-9th months are four visits, one screening for ultrasound and screening for group B streptococcus.
  4. After the 9th month, there is no prenatal care at all

The cost and benefit measures employed by the authors include: a cost-benefit model to determine the price of threshold in which a hypothetical program that could reduce the number of teens getting no prenatal care would break heaven (Hueston et al., 2008). Secondly, sensitivity analysis to explore how changes in health care might alter the result calculation. Thirdly, Cost-Benefit Model to determine the range of cost of pregnancy and early newborn care (Kharbanda et a., 2014; Ruel et al., 2013); and finally sensitivity Analyses to examine the utility of the manner under a potentially alternative situation.

Overall critique of the article

Be as it may, the hypothesis of the study was to find out whether the most favorable time for prenatal care initiation can be recognized that will maximize outcomes and minimize costs

Weaknesses of the article

The paper does not provide the research questions. Research questions are imperative to help readers of the article have a rough idea of what the author tries to explain in the paper. The author did not also provide the objectives of the paper, this therefore, does not give the readers an opportunity to grasp what he or she expects from reading the article.

The author did not use a sample size in doing the research; instead, the author uses enormous data from Center for Health Statistics in the United state to calculate the various variables under study. The author employs a single methodology in trying to find out the relationship between variables in the hypothesis. And yet, the study scope is large and requires using more than one methodology to fully exploit the variables and establish the relationship between prenatal initiation and cost saving.

The analysis techniques used in the research was not entirely effective. The author ought to have used descriptive techniques such as; determining the mean, minimum and maximum values and also the mode of the variables. The author should have used correlation also to describe the nature of the relationship between preteen pregnancies and cost saving in prenatal care.

Strengths of the paper

The paper critically analyses the data from the Center for Health Statistics and brings out clearly the relationship between prenatal care obtained and cost. The researcher was able to obtain some results and make a firm conclusion based on the data collected. Use of research models such as the cost-benefit model to bring out coherently the relationship between the cost of prenatal care and the benefits obtained from these services.

This empirical study has contributed significantly to the existing previous researches. The ideology associated with prenatal care and costs has been in existence in literature reviews. According to Dupas (2011), no parental care is related with higher costs and poorer results obtained from both teens and adults. This research has been able to fill the information gap on whether care results in better outcomes, an increase of cost savings. This empirical study elaborates the notion that investments in health programs encourage earlier prenatal care and makes the process cost-effective.

Analysis and recommendations

The empirical study suggests the use of prevention programs design to reduce teen pregnancy so as to reduce social risks (Role, 2015). The cost of prenatal care can be entirely reduced by involving the stakeholders in by using preventive programs to reduce the occurrence of teen pregnancy and, therefore, reduce the cost of prenatal care (Monea et al., 2011). Reilly et al.(2014) propose that teenage pregnancy is not a public health problem but to a certain extent a reflection of norms. The economic and social consequences resulting from teen pregnancy is of concern and should be addressed with care.


The empirical study discussed in this paper indicates that teens who receive prenatal care are less costly compared to those who do not receive prenatal care at all. Health programs should, therefore, focus on sensitizing the teens on the importance of obtaining prenatal care to reduce the cost of not obtaining prenatal care at all (Tilley et al., 2015).


Bhutta, Z. A., Cabral, S., Chan, C. W., & Keenan, W. J. (2012). Reducing maternal, newborn, and infant mortality globally: an integrated action agenda. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 119, S13-S17.

Bhutta, Z. A., Das, J. K., Rizvi, A., Gaffey, M. F., Walker, N., Horton, S., … & Maternal and Child Nutrition Study Group. (2013). Evidence-based interventions for improvement of maternal and child nutrition: what can be done and at what cost?. The Lancet, 382(9890), 452-477.

Docherty, A., & Johnston, A. L. (2015). Prenatal Care in Oregon and Washington: Policy and Utilization for Vulnerable Women. Nursing research, 64(2), 117-127.

Dupas, P. (2011). Health behavior in developing countries. Annu. Rev. Econ., 3(1), 425-449.

Hueston, W. J., Quattlebaum, R. G., & Benich, J. J. (2008). How much money can early prenatal care for teen pregnancies save?: a cost-benefit analysis. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 21(3), 184-190.

Kharbanda, E. O., Stuck, L., Molitor, B., & Nordin, J. D. (2014). Missed Opportunities for Pregnancy Prevention Among Insured Adolescents. JAMA pediatrics, 168(12), e142809-e142809.

Monea, E., & Thomas, A. (2011). Unintended pregnancy and taxpayer spending. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 43(2), 88-93.

Reilly, R., Paranjothy, S., & Fone, D. L. (2014). Adolescent Pregnancy in the United Kingdom. In International Handbook of Adolescent Pregnancy (pp. 643-659). Springer US.

Ruel, M. T., Alderman, H., & Maternal and Child Nutrition Study Group. (2013). Nutrition-sensitive interventions and programmes: how can they help to accelerate progress in improving maternal and child nutrition?. The Lancet, 382(9891), 536-551.

Role Of The Counselor In Emergency Management Teams … (n.d.). Retrieved from

Sawhill, I., & Venator, J. (2014). Proposal 3: Reducing Unintended Pregnancies for Low-Income Women. Policies to Address Poverty in America, 37.

Tilley, E. H., & Barnett, M. A. (2015). Bridging the Gap: Fertility Timing in the United States, Effective Public Policy, and Prevention Design. Sexuality Research and Social Policy, 1-9.


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