Community-based perinatal care for disadvantaged adolescents: Evaluation of the resource mothers program
This study compared the effects of a community-based lay home visiting initiative for pregnant adolescents, the Norfolk Resource Mothers Program, with the effects of a more traditional clinic-based program. The Resource Mothers Program (RMP) supports disadvantaged teens through the use of para-professional home visitors who are similar to the teens in race and socio-economic status. In addition to recruiting teens into the program and encouraging early prenatal care, the Resource Mothers Program provides teen mothers and their families with practical help and increases community awareness regarding infant mortality and adolescent pregnancy. When compared with a traditional clinic-based multi-disciplinary program (MDP) using health professionals, the Resource Mothers Program reached a higher percentage of high-risk adolescents (e.g., 75.5% RMP vs. 45.6% MDP clients aged 17 years old or under), promoted a higher level of prenatal care (e.g., 53.1% RMP vs. 32.6% MDP clients beginning prenatal care before the fourth month of pregnancy), and resulted in pregnancy outcomes that favored the MDP but were comparable (e.g., 89.8% RMP vs. 93.5% MDP client babies were over 2500 grams at birth).