Analysis suggests Ohio State-led help program might cut back preterm beginning and toddler mortality

New research suggests that a program called Moms2B at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center is showing reductions in undesirable pregnancy outcomes in communities disproportionately affected by these public health problems.

The study, conducted by researchers Courtney Lynch and Erinn Hade and published in the Journal of Maternal and Child Health, shows that women who attended at least two Moms2B sessions compared to women who gave birth to preterm, low birth weight and infant mortality sufferers may have a lower premature birth rate, low birth weight and infant mortality rates only received individual care.

“When we started the program 10 years ago, infant mortality rates in some of these neighborhoods were 19 per 1,000 births. Now it’s only 10 per 1,000, ”said Patricia Gabbe, founder and director of the Moms2B program and pediatrician at the medical center. “This kind of success has never been before and would not have been possible without our community collaboration.”

In the United States, more than 22,000 babies die before their first birthday each year, and infant mortality rates double that of white babies. However, experts say many of these deaths are preventable, and prevention begins with taking care of expectant mothers and empowering them to give birth to healthy full-time babies.

“We have relied on obstetricians and pediatricians for too long to address this public health issue, and it has not worked. Instead, we went to these vulnerable neighborhoods and spoke to women about the challenges they are facing, what they want to learn and what services they need, ”Gabbe said. “We learned that things like housing, food insecurity and childcare are huge barriers for these women, and it has been a great help in deciding where to focus our efforts.”

Moms2B is tackling prenatal and postnatal health in a new way, integrating education, services and support directly into the affected neighborhoods. The program continues to grow, providing pregnancy and parenting classes, access to social and medical services, and a healthy meal at every session to more than 2,500 women.

“The most important thing I learned is the importance of keeping stress levels down during pregnancy,” said Monyia Wilson, a Moms2B participant and mother of five. “During my pregnancy, when you have support like Moms2B, you feel like things aren’t that difficult because they are right with you. It makes me keep coming back and has helped me have healthy pregnancies. “

Moms2B trains through a multidisciplinary team approach. Health care professionals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, lactation consultants, navigators, community health workers, and health care students, listen and learn from all participants in Moms2B.

“Not only can we teach mothers through this program, but the mothers also educate us about the obstacles this population is facing,” Gabbe said. “When health professionals are better informed about the obstacles expectant mothers must overcome, we can better help them have healthy pregnancies and babies.”

Gabbe and her team are working with partners across the country to expand the success of Moms2B to more cities and neighborhoods, improving the health of vulnerable mothers and babies, and reducing national child mortality.

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