In an effort to decrease infant mortality and morbidity in Kent County, we, the Infant Health Implementation Team of Healthy Kent 2010, believe that all pregnant women should be given the utmost prenatal care, including assessment, education and appropriate interventions. In order to promote and encourage this superior care, we also believe that the following core concepts should be the basis of both individual and community-wide prenatal care services. These core concepts are:
- All pregnant women should be educated about the need and benefit of early and consistent prenatal care. Any agency identifying the pregnancy should facilitate this early prenatal care in their own organization and/or in collaboration with other care providers.
- All pregnant women should be assessed for the ability to comprehend any information provided in relation to prenatal care. Education should be individualized to the pregnant woman's needs.
- All pregnant women should be assessed for adequate resources for overcoming barriers to accessing prenatal care, including financial resources, transportation, knowledge of available resources, and basic human needs (food, clothing, housing).
- All pregnant women should have documentation of an accurate past medical history including previous pregnancies and complications, chronic illness, and communicable diseases.
- All pregnant women should be assessed for their physical health status, including dental health.
- All pregnant women should be assessed for their nutritional health status, both for themselves and for the infant. Exclusive breast feeding should be promoted as the best method of infant nutrition.
- All pregnant women should be assessed for their mental health status, including the presence or risk for depression.
- All pregnant women should be assessed for the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
- All pregnant women should be assessed for their social support systems, including the ability to cope with stress and the presence/history of physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse.
- All pregnant women should experience care that is nurturing, culturally sensitive and non-judgmental.
- Information provided to all pregnant women should be accurate, consistent, and comprehensive.
In addition to implementing these basic prenatal care concepts, we also believe that all women with identified needs should be offered services and resources to ensure the delivery of a healthy newborn.