155116 Baby talk: Maternal and child health policy and community-based doula programs

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: 1:15 PM

Rachel Abramson, RN, MS, IBCLC , Chicago Health Connection, Chicago, IL
Kimberley Broomfield, MA , Psychology, Georgia State University, Lithonia, GA
Jeretha McKinley, BA , HealthConnect One, Chicago, IL
In recent years birthing families' access to prenatal care and consistent birthing support has been diminished by provider shortages, rising insurance costs, demographic shifts, and national policy. In the face of the de-coupling of cash assistance from Medicaid and changes in policies concerning pregnant and birthing immigrants, two vulnerable populations, low-income pregnant and parenting women and their children, are at risk for detrimental outcomes. Although programs such as Healthy Start and WIC continue to underscore the importance of early intervention on the health of low-income families, health care and social support during the childbearing year are increasingly fragmented and difficult to access.

Chicago Health Connection's community-based doula model addresses these concerns by collaborating with grassroots organizations, trusted institutions and government agencies to improve maternal and infant health, strengthen families, and establish supports for ongoing family success. Doula support during the childbearing year is related to fewer labor and delivery complications, fewer medical interventions, and increased well-being for mothers and babies. The integration of doula support increases prenatal visit compliance of high risk women, promotes maternal infant attachment, increases breastfeeding initiation and success, assists home visiting programs in bridging pregnancy and parenting, and enhances health education programs by providing the support of a well trained and experienced peer provider. Panelists will describe the challenges facing birthing families, the community-based doula model and its effect on birth outcomes, the experience of national replication sites, and ongoing efforts to develop federal funding to support the sustainability of these primary prevention programs.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe how changes in two government policies affect national birth outcomes. 2. Discuss how the community-based doula model promotes positive birth outcomes in a political climate in which vulnerable populations may be increasingly at risk.

Keywords: Birth Outcomes, Maternal and Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Emstar Research Inc. Maternal and Child Health Independent Contractor (contracted research and clinical trials)

Any company-sponsored training? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission? Yes
Have you received salary support, retainer, or other monies to support your position as part of the research/clinical trials? Yes
Have you served as the Principal Investigator) for the research/clinical trials? No
Have the results of your research/clinical trials been published? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.