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Connecting Women to the Prenatal and Infant Care They Need

Research clearly shows that minority communities often have less access to prenatal and infant care than predominantly white communities. There are a number of reasons for the disparity, including socioeconomic status, geographic location, type of insurance coverage, and a lack of sufficient prenatal care centers in rural areas.

How much each of the above-mentioned factors affects the disparity in care for minority mothers is arguable, but what can be said for certain is that pregnant mothers and their children suffer if they don’t receive proper pre-natal and infant care. Conversely, those who do receive care are able to thrive not just during pregnancy and right after birth but also long-term. So, what is prenatal care and why is it needed for all women? Read on…

What Factors are Associated with Poor or No Prenatal Care?

There are multiple factors associated with poor or no prenatal care. Pregnant women who do not receive the medical help they need during their pregnancies are more likely to have a pre-term birth or a baby who has a low birth weight than a mother who has had proper care.

Furthermore, babies born to mothers who have not had proper care are more likely to die than those born to mothers who have been properly cared for throughout their pregnancies.

At the same time, it’s not just the babies who suffer. Mothers also suffer if they don’t receive proper prenatal care on an ongoing basis. This is especially true for mothers who have pre-existing conditions such as a heart problem, diabetes, and/or asthma, as pregnancy can negatively impact a woman’s health if she already has health problems. However, even healthy mothers who do not receive proper prenatal care can also suffer serious health problems. These include gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and preeclampsia. While good prenatal care does not eliminate these risks, a doctor will be able to catch these conditions early on and administer proper treatment to protect a mother’s life and well-being.

Furthermore, a lack of proper prenatal care can also increase a mother’s odds of experiencing post-partum depression after the baby is born. This mental health problem brings with it feelings of guilt, worthlessness, anxiety, and, in worse case scenarios thoughts of suicide or harm towards the new baby.

What is Considered Poor Prenatal Care?

Poor prenatal care is care that does not measure up to the World Health Organization’s minimal prenatal care standards. The WHO states that pregnant women should make at least eight pre-natal care visits to a medical facility, be it a hospital, clinic, private practice, or community outreach service. These visits typically include a weight check, blood pressure check, and physical exam. Doctors will also do periodic blood tests, urine tests, and ultrasounds to makes sure the mother is healthy, and the baby is developing properly. If a woman is not receiving care in line with the requirements listed above, then her parental care is poor, and she is at risk of complications.

Another aspect of poor prenatal care is a lack of needed supplements. Pregnant women should take 400 micrograms of folic acid and between 30 and 60 micrograms of elemental iron a day. Nutritional deficiencies have been linked with developmental problems in the fetus and can also cause problems for a mother’s health, as a pregnant woman’s body provides nutrition for the baby first while giving the mother whatever is left over.

What Organization Promotes Healthy Pregnancy?

Caring Network specializes in helping women connect to the care they need. We serve women of all ages and walks of life and all our services are free and confidential. Our team offers pregnancy tests, medical consultations, ultrasounds, supplies, community resource referrals and parenting assistance. For those who are in search of reliable, affordable prenatal care, we can help them in their next steps. We also provide referrals for adoption information, medical needs, housing, finances, and insurance.

At the same time, we understand that pregnancy, especially an unplanned one, can bring with it emotions ranging from denial to anger to depression. Our team offers compassionate support  to help women assess their situation and make wise, well-informed decisions. We can also connect women to others who can come alongside a woman  during her pregnancy and after the baby is born.

How Does Prenatal Care Help Society?

Preterm births cost the United States a whopping $26.2 billion every single year. However, this price tag only includes medical bills and does not account for other costs. Preterm children are more likely to need special education services than full-term babies. They are also more likely to have behavior problems, low test scores, and/or be required to repeat grades.

As they struggle in school, many may find it difficult or even impossible to graduate from university and find a good-paying job. Thus, the cycle of poverty continues as poor mothers who are unable to obtain proper prenatal care give birth to children who are unable to pull themselves out from a cycle of poverty and obtain good prenatal care during their own pregnancies.

Unfortunately, many pre-term children struggle with lifelong health problems that limit their ability to work and lead happy, productive lives. Thus, they need to receive Social Security Disability payments starting from an early age just to get by. The expenses related to SSI and special education are covered by tax dollars, which means that taxpayers bear the burden if under- resourced mothers are unable to receive proper prenatal care.

Helping to connect women with the care they need is a challenging life mission but one that is well worth it. At Caring Network, we believe that providing even one mother care and support needed to  give birth to a healthy child is worth it all. At the same time, we know that our work has far-reaching implications by saving billions of dollars in taxpayer money, helping children get off to a good start in life, so they can study and find a good job when they grow up, and empowering women to break free from generational poverty, so they can lead happy, fulfilling lives.

In the end, our work saves not only those we directly minister to but also multiple future generations. Get in touch with us at your convenience if you or someone you know would benefit from our services, or if you would like to contribute time and/or finances to helping us further our mission.

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