March of Dimes, a nonprofit for maternal and infant health, is teaming up with Willow Creek Women’s Clinic and AMAG Pharmaceuticals to launch
The Willow Creek hospital is the first in the state of Arkansas to offer the program. Five other states are part of the pilot launch, which will provide prenatal health care for all women, regardless of insurance coverage.
March of Dimes will implement the care in a group setting, matching women at similar points in their pregnancy. During the sessions, women will learn to measure and record their own weight and blood pressure, while a licensed obstetrician meets individually with participants to discuss specific concerns.
But this physical care isn’t even the focus of the program — it’s the vital social and emotional support mothers can provide each other. Group sessions can last two hours, giving women ten times more interactivity with medical providers than a traditional prenatal checkup. And with the SPC’s social media platform and online tools, mothers-to-be can connect with each other and access additional information.
As Stacey D. Stewart, March of Dimes President and CEO told Parentology recently when discussing the organization’s new podcast, “Parenting is not a
So why is this pilot program necessary? Its main focus: preterm birth rates. One in 10 babies are born premature (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) in the US — that’s one of the worst preterm birth rates among high-income countries worldwide.
And Arkansas’ is one of the highest — with a preterm birth rate of 10.8%, it has a letter grade of “D” when compared to other states. Some individual counties in the state have an even higher rate.
Preterm birth rates should be dropping, but they’re actually increasing. They rose again in 2018 for the third year in a row. Premature birth complications are the leading cause of death among children under five years of age and responsible for over a million deaths annually worldwide. According to the World Health Organization, three-quarters of these deaths could be prevented with current, cost-effective interventions.
Babies who survive often suffer lifelong health issues like learning disabilities and hearing loss. Even infants born only a few weeks
This pilot program, especially for such a vulnerable population, could save lives. On August 8th, Willow Creek’s first group of expectant mothers will begin receiving essential support and medical care.
Women in their first trimester of pregnancy who are interested in taking part can call (479-757-1730) or email at CommunityRelations@nw-health.com for additional information and enrollment.