Preconcepton health becomes key focus in improving birth outcomes, reducing disparities

A recent report by the National Center for Children in Poverty proposes several actions state leaders can take to improve women’s well-being and promote better birth outcomes. The report also provides in depth information on already existing policies and programs promoting preconception health and health care.

The report points to national Healthy Start programs as an example of efforts to incorporate preconception and interconception health, particularly for the most at-risk populations. These programs, like the Magnolia Project in Jacksonville’s urban core, can be used by community leaders as examples and be implemented on a larger scale to impact outcomes.

Efforts have been made to provide coverage for the over 32 million uninsured Americans, particularly the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which highlights include elimination of gender rating, providing tax credits to small business to help allow them to offer coverage, and by the mandating of all states to raise Medicaid thresholds to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Successful, evidence-based interventions like the Nurse Family Partnership are also funded through the ACA.

According to the National Center, if utilized correctly, preconception health and health care can lead to healthy mothers and babies and reduce the high rate of infant mortality. The organization is committed to expanding coverage and care before and after pregnancies, educating women, family members and providers on critical PCHHC topics, and addressing other factors critical to preconception health.