Prenatal Care

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While the bureaucrats ponder and debate ideas about what to do with the current state of our healthcare system, realists should be more concerned with their current health and the help they can get from preventative medicine. At the center of preventative medicine and preventative care is education. Understanding the body and processes in which you are attempting to protect is essential. Prenatal care is a specific form of preventative attention aimed at keeping both baby and mother healthy. “Lack of prenatal care is associated with a 40% increase in the rate of neonatal death” (Rosenburg 270). Low education coupled with poverty is an all too familiar mixture in the United Sates. There should be a concern for the lack of nutrition and health education in one’s early childhood in the United States. This potentially yields a state of ignorance and naivety which does not bode well for any adult or their child, regardless of the prenatal or neonatal stage. Preventing prenatal troubles not only benefits the persons specifically involved but can also leads to lower rate of reliance on government provided medicinal needs. “Most of the $10 billion cost of neonatal care in the United States in 2003 was spent on the 12.3 per cent of infants who were born preterm (less than 37 weeks' gestation).” (“Cost/Benefit Prenatal Care”). A study by nurses using secondary research showed the rehospitalization rates have proven to be higher in mothers with high risk pregnancies in the U.S. (“Cost/Benefit Prenatal Care”). “For all infants weighing more than 750g, including those who did not survive, an increase of 250g in birth weight generated a saving of $12,000 to $16,000 in the first year, and an increase of 500g in birth weight saved an average of $28,000”. (“Cost/Benefit Prenatal Care”). “In the United States, one early program instituted by Mrs. William Lowell Putnam, for the Boston Infant Social Service Department, was offered to women who were enrolled in the home delivery service at the Lying-In Hospital in 1901”(Reid 382). One other very early program, was set up by the Maternity Center of America in New York City in 1907 which supplied care to women after the 7th month of pregnancy. (Reid 383). “Nurses taught women about nutrition, hygiene, exercise and infant care, and assessed blood pressure, urine and fetal heart tones” (Reid 383). The history of prenatal care and the provided education dates back over a century in this country however, the statistics do not seem to demonstrate that women today are well informed on the topic. “In the United States, 21% of pregnant women either start prenatal care late (after the first 15 weeks is considered late) or do not start at all.” (McQuide, Delvaux and Buekens 331). As times change and technology increases we must strive to increase the level of prenatal care we assume is necessary as well as help the less fortunate in this process. At Rush Medical College in Chicago, a clinic was set up to provide prenatal help for disadvantaged women. (Stout 178). “According to research done by Bardak and Thompson, partnerships among communities, clinics and academic institutions are feasible, cost effective and socially responsible.” (Stout 178). These types of programs are designed to help educate and keep these women on some type of structured prenatal regiment. A prematurity prevention program in North Carolina was designed to reduce low birth weight which in turn further reduces risk of other prenatal problems. (Stout 178) Their program was more medical driven but considered themselves a short term answer for long term problems such as low levels of education, unplanned pregnancy and poverty. (Stout, 178) Projects such as these in urban communities are helping low income mothers reduce the level of neonatal problems they could encounter by providing prenatal education and answers. Incentives are used in Europe and many other countries to promote prenatal care. (McQuide, Delvaux and Buekens 331). It...
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