Improving Maternal and Infant Child Health Outcomes with Community-Based Pregnancy Support Groups: Outcomes from Moms2B Ohio
Objectives To describe temporal changes in maternal and child health outcomes in an impoverished urban community after the implementation of an innovative community-based pregnancy support program, named Moms2B. Methods Beginning in 2011, pregnant women in an urban impoverished community were recruited for participation in a community-based pregnancy support program focused on improving nutrition coupled with increasing social and medical support. The comprehensive program targeting pregnancy through the infants’ first year of life was developed and staffed by a multidisciplinary team from an academic health system. As a preliminary effort to assess the effectiveness of Moms2B, we examined maternal and infant health characteristics in the community before and after implementation of the program. Results From 2011 to 2014, 195 pregnant women attended one or more Moms2B sessions at the Weinland Park (WP) location. Most (75%) were African American (AA) with incomes below $800 per month and significant medical and social stressors. Outcomes from the two WP census tracts before and after implementation of the Moms2B program were studied. From 2007 to 2010, there were 442 births in WP and 6 infant deaths for an infant mortality rate of 14.2/1000. In 2011–2014, the first four years of the Moms2B program there were 339 births and one infant death giving an IMR of 2.9/1000, nearly a five-fold reduction in the rate of an infant death. Among pregnant women in WP who were covered by Medicaid, the breastfeeding initiation rate improved from 37.9 to 75.5% (p < .01) after the introduction of Moms2B. There were no infant deaths among Moms2B participants at the WP location in the first four years of the program. Conclusions Implementation of an innovative community-based pregnancy support program was associated with important improvements in maternal and infant health in an impoverished neighborhood.