- We set out to examine pregnancy outcome of women who utilised prenatal care facilities and those who did not, within two different ethnic groups living in the same region and sharing basically the same medical facilities. The study population consisted of all singleton deliveries occurring between the years 1990-97 (n = 78 955). The analysis was based on a comparison of births to Jewish and Bedouin women who did not have prenatal care (defined as less than three visits at any prenatal care facility during the pregnancy) and those who had prenatal care (at least three visits at any prenatal care facility). Lack of prenatal care was found in 0.98% of the Jewish mothers and in 20.95% of the Bedouin women. Bedouin women receiving prenatal care had significantly higher rates of perinatal mortality (OR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.6-2.2; P < 0.001) and newborns weighing less than 2500 g (OR = 1.2, 95% CI 1.2-1.3; P < 0.001) compared to their Jewish counterparts. However, in the comparison of women lacking prenatal care, no statistically significant differences were found between the groups with regard to those variables. In spite of the overwhelming cultural and socioeconomic differences between these societies, lack of prenatal care crossed social borders and a similar poor pregnancy outcome was found to be common in the two groups. Attempts should be made in order to remove barriers to prenatal care and to increase adequate utilisation of prenatal care in all societies in general and in ethnic minorities in particular.