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Trust for America's Health Releases Report on Connection between Women's Health and Stalled Infant Mortality Rates
Date:6/12/2008

infant mortality," said Laura Beavers, coordinator of the national KIDS COUNT project at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. "The Trust for America's Heath's report, Healthy Women, Healthy Babies provides us with the information we need to turn this around and to begin to once again see steady progress on both of these critical indicators."

Healthy Women, Healthy Babies reports that approximately 30 percent of women who give birth have some form of pregnancy complication, which cost the U.S. at least $26.2 billion in 2005. Prematurity and low birth weights are often associated with health issues in the mother, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or obesity. Many experts now believe that because the early weeks after conception are critical to a baby's development, traditional prenatal care, which usually begins in the first three months of a pregnancy, comes too late to prevent many serious maternal and child health problems. The way to ensure infant mortality rates resume their fall is to assure that all women are insured and have access to primary care. If we improve the health of all women aged 15-44 and execute earlier interventions for those with chronic health conditions and risks, we will also see better birth outcomes.

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS OF Healthy Women, Healthy Babies, which were drawn from interviews and comments from 10 leading experts in maternal and child health, include:

-- Fully Implement and Enhance Medicaid Policies.

-- Assuring better health coverage for poor women through state expansion of Medicaid coverage. States should have the authority to cover women without a federal waiver and allow Medicaid benefits to follow women after the birth for 24 months. Both changes would significantly reduce infant mortality.

-- Expand Other Programs that Provide Primary Care and Other Services to Women of Childbearing Age.

-- Federal programs like the Healthy Start Infant Mortality Reduction Program, Community Health C
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SOURCE Trust for America's Health
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