Charting the Course for Saving the Unborn and Newborn (SUN) with Emphasis on Maternal Health
This project is designed especially for females of child-bearing years. Women should know the various diseases and maladies they have prior to pregnancy and take corrective action before pregnancy. In essence, women should be keenly aware of actions they should take to have a healthy pregnancy and infant. This section will facilitate that awareness and provide information that will guide you through the preparation of pregnancy, your pregnancy, and guide you once your baby arrives. You will become familiar with terms that are commonly associated with pregnancy and childbirth, and you will be advised to develop your Personal Action Plan. This section is divided into eight areas: 1) Terms I Need to Know, 2) Maternal Health, 3) Major Causes of Pregnancy- Related Deaths, 4) Reducing Maternal Mortality and Morbidity, 5) Infant Mortality and Five Leading Causes, 6) Reducing Infant Deaths, 7) Did You Know, and 8) My Personal Action Plan. Please bear in mind that the goal of this project is for you to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby!
Terms I Need to Know
- 1 Early Neonatal Period
The period covered by the first week after birth or at an age of less than seven days.
- 2 Genetic Counseling
The process of helping people to understand and adapt to the medical, psychological, and familial implications of genetic contributions to diseases.
- 3 Human Genetics
The science of genes, heredity, and variation in human organisms
- 4 Mitigation
The capabilities necessary to reduce the loss of life and property from natural and/or manmade disasters by lessening their impact of those disasters.
- 5 Morbidity
A general term for any health condition that encompasses diseases, injuries, and impairments in a population and group.
- 6 Mortality
A general term used for the incidence of death in a population or group.
- 7 Neonatal Period
A period covered by the first month after birth or an age of less than 28 days.
- 8 Newborn
A recently born infant, usually less than one month old.
- 9 Perinatal
A Period pertaining to immediately before and after birth.
- 10 Perinatal Mortality
The period that refers to fetal and early neonatal death between 28 weeks or more gestation through the first week of life (less than seven days after birth).
- 11 Peripartum
The period shortly before, during, and immediately after giving birth.
- 12 Post Neonatal Period
The period of an infant’s age from one month (28 days) up to one year (<365 days)
- 13 Prenatal/Antenatal
The period before birth, referring to both the care of the woman during pregnancy and the growth and development of the fetus.
- 14 Safe Infant Sleep Environment
The infant is placed to sleep on its back, in its own crib (no bed-sharing) without blankets or soft items.
- 15 Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID)
Deaths in infants less than one year of age that occur suddenly and unexpectedly, and in whom that cause of death is not immediately obvious prior to investigation.
- 16 Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS
The sudden death of an infant less than one year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation is conducted.
- 1 Let’s Start with Prenatal Care:
At the start of pregnancy, early and regular prenatal care is key and allows healthcare providers the opportunity to monitor the health of both the mother and baby, identify and address possible risks and complications, and provide guidance on healthy behaviors during pregnancy.
- 2 Take Advantage of Resources!
Look to your community! For example educational resources, family planning centers provide helpful and culture-specific education to pregnant individuals concerning proper nutrition, exercise, avoidance of harmful substances (like alcohol and tobacco), and how to recognize warning signs which can empower an individual to make informed choices with confidence.
- 3 What About Healthcare?
Everyone has specific needs. Resources that pay attention to your racial background and economic needs, and give you access to quality healthcare is crucial. Efforts to eliminate problems that takeaway from or neglect certain communities can lead to better outcomes for you and your child.
- 4 Antenatal/Prenatal Screenings:
Seek out the care you need and deserve. Routine screenings for conditions such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and infections can aid in early detection and management, reducing the risk of complications.
- 5 Mind, Body & Soul:
Your mind is as important and your body. Finding emotional and psychological support can calm stress, anxiety, and depression, promoting a healthier pregnancy and reducing the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight.
- 6 Eating for Two:
Focus on real food! Keeping up with a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients and learning about the importance of prenatal vitamins, including folic acid, can contribute to the healthy development of the fetus.
- 7 Find Your Birthing Expert:
You should be able to trust those who will be helping with your labor and birth journey. Childbirth should include not just your loved ones but skilled healthcare professionals, such as midwives and doctors. This will lead to safety during delivery and reduces the risk of complications.
- 8 Baby Has Arrived!
It is just as important to look after yourself and the baby after delivery. Postnatal check-ups for both mom and newborn allow for monitoring, identification of issues, and any additional care that may be required.
- 9 Breastfeeding Support:
Breastfeeding is not the only way to provide food for your newborn but can provide essential nutrients and immunity to newborns, keeping the risk of infections low and promoting healthy growth.
Major Causes of Pregnancy-Related Deaths in the United States
- Mental health conditions (including deaths due to suicide and overdose/poisoning related to substance use disorder) (23%),
- Excessive bleeding (hemorrhage) (14%), and
- Cardiac and coronary conditions (relating to the heart) (13%)
Major Causes of Maternal Deaths in the US
- Blood clots in the lung
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Blood loss
What has been done to prevent maternal mortality deaths in the United States?
- Implementation of safety bundle
- Team training
- Integrated multidisciplinary care for high-risk patients
- Risk-stratified levels of maternal care
- Improvements in communication between providers and patients regarding early warning signs, and
- Addressing structural racism and the social determinants of health
Note: The Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs) are multidisciplinary committees that convene at the state or local level to comprehensively review deaths during or within a year of pregnancy (pregnancy-associated deaths).
Reducing Maternal Mortality and Infant Health Problems
Prenatal/antenatal care is a type of preventive healthcare. It is provided in the form of medical checkups, consisting of recommendations on managing a healthy lifestyle and the provision of medical information such as maternal physiological changes in pregnancy, biological changes, and prenatal nutrition including prenatal vitamins, which prevent potential health problems throughout the course of the pregnancy and promote the mother and child’s health alike. The availability of routine prenatal care, including prenatal screening and diagnosis, have played a part in reducing the frequency of maternal death, miscarriages, birth defects, low birth weight, neonatal infections, and other preventable health problems.
Traditional prenatal/antenatal care in high-income countries generally consists of the following:
- 1 Monthly visits during the first two trimesters (from the 1st week to the 28th week)
- 2 Periodic visits from the 28th week to the 36th week of pregnancy
- 3 Weekly visits after 36th week to the delivery, from the 38th week to the 42nd week
- 4 Assessment of parental needs and family dynamics
Infant Mortality in the United States and Five Leading Causes
In 2020, the infant mortality rate in the United States was 5.3 deaths per 1,000 live births. However, the infant mortality rate of Blacks is 10.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to 4.6 deaths for white infants. Leading causes:
- 1 Premature birth
- 2 Low birth weight (LBW) – Babies born weighing less that 5 pounds, 8 ounces or 2,500 grams
- 3 Maternal complications during pregnancy
- 4 Accidental and non-accidental injuries
- 5 Sudden infant death (SIDS)
Reducing Infant Deaths
- 1 Adequate prenatal care, maternal health
- 2 Access to healthcare
- 3 Socioeconomic factors play a significant role in addressing disparities and reducing infant mortality.
By focusing on maternal health and using the information in Hot Button 4, societies can make a positive change in reducing mortality rates for the unborn and newborn. ANMA hopes to empower pregnant women with knowledge, access to quality healthcare, and support to allow for a healthy journey for both mothers and their precious infants.
Did You Know
What Are Some Resources I Can Use?
Pregnancy is an exciting time, and there are many resources available to help in different stages of your journey. Here are some valuable resources for pregnant mothers.
Remember that every pregnancy is unique, so it’s important to tailor your resources and support to your specific needs and circumstances. Don’t hesitate to reach out to healthcare professionals if you have questions or concerns during your pregnancy
- 1 Prenatal Care Providers:
Start by finding a healthcare provider you trust, such as an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN), midwife, or family doctor. They will provide medical guidance and monitor your pregnancy.
- 2 Prenatal Classes:
Many hospitals and community centers offer prenatal classes. These classes can help you prepare for childbirth, learn about pregnancy nutrition, and provide tips for postpartum care.
- 3 Books:
There are numerous books on pregnancy and childbirth, such as What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel, and The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. These books offer comprehensive information on pregnancy and what to expect.
- 4 Online Resources:
- WebMD: Offers a wide range of articles and tools for expectant mothers.
- BabyCenter: Provides information on pregnancy, baby development, and parenting.
- The Bump: Offers pregnancy and parenting advice, along with a pregnancy calculator.
- American Pregnancy Association: A nonprofit organization with resources on pregnancy health and wellness.
- 5 Mobile Apps:
There are numerous pregnancy apps available for tracking your pregnancy, providing information, and connecting with a supportive community. Examples include Ovia Pregnancy, Pregnancy+ by Health & Parenting, and What to Expect.
- 6 Local Support Groups:
Look for local support groups or organizations that cater to pregnant women. These groups can provide emotional support and connections with others going through similar experiences.
- 7 Online Forums and Communities:
Websites like BabyCenter and The Bump also have active forums where you can connect with other pregnant mothers, ask questions, and share experiences.
- 8 Nutrition and Diet Guidance:
Ask a registered dietitian or nutritionist who specializes in prenatal nutrition to make sure you are eating well during your pregnancy.
- 9 Exercise and Yoga Classes:
Staying active during pregnancy can be beneficial. Consider prenatal exercise classes or yoga tailored to expectant mothers.
- 10 Mental Health Support:
Pregnancy can be emotionally challenging. If you’re experiencing anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns, don’t hesitate to seek support from a mental health professional.
- 11 Government Health Resources:
In many countries, government health departments provide resources for pregnant women, including guidelines, checklists, and information on maternity leave and benefits.
- 12 Financial Planning:
If you have financial concerns, consult with a financial advisor to plan for the costs associated with pregnancy and childbirth.
- 13 Labor and Delivery Resources:
Learn about the labor and delivery process. Consider taking childbirth education classes to prepare for the big day.
- 14 Breastfeeding Support:
If you plan to breastfeed, there are lactation consultants and breastfeeding support groups available to assist you.
My Personal Action Plan for an Optimum Pregnancy and a Healthy Baby
Pledge for Child-Bearing Females
I realize that my actions will impact my maternal health, as well as the health of my unborn and newborn. I will do all that I can to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. Specifically, I will seek necessary healthcare and support, learn and practice good nutrition, learn and execute strategies for good mental health and physical activities, and learn as much as I can to care for my baby. I want to be a healthy mother, and I want my baby to be healthy.
A copy of your plan will also be sent to the email you provided.