HMHBGA

Georgia Ranks Poorly on Maternal and Infant Health -Quality Prenatal Education Can Change That

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
PRESS ADVISORY CONTACT: Mica Whitfield- 678-302-1130
mica.whitfield@hmhbga.org

 

February 7, 2019 – Atlanta, GA  Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia (HMHBGA) finds need for quality content offered in prenatal education curriculums across the State. HMHBGA released findings from a research project entitled, An Evaluation of Current Prenatal Education Availability and Receptivity to Online Education in the State of GeorgiaThe study took an in-depth look at prenatal education offered across the State and whether online or mobile-based apps can help ensure pregnant families are getting critical health information to address persistent gaps and disparities.

 

“Georgia currently holds some of the poorest national rankings for maternal and infant health and the findings from this evaluation further speak to the need for patient empowerment through health literacy,” said Mica Whitfield, Program Coordinator at Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies.

Benefits of prenatal education include: increased knowledge about preterm labor, postpartum care, and safe sleep practices, less false labor admissions, and increased early skin-to-skin contact. Prenatal education has the ability to educate women on vital signs and symptoms, can encourage them to seek medical attention, and can increase their likelihood of following medical advice. Additionally, women who attend prenatal education exhibit increased decision-making during delivery.

“Our earlier pilot for the study revealed that only 10-18% of women receive in-person prenatal education outside of their prenatal appointments. These results provide an important understanding of the status of health education for pregnant women in Georgia.”

GEORGIA STUDY RESULTS
A total of 216 providers from across Georgia were surveyed for the purposes of the study. The results of the research project revealed that overwhelmingly, pregnant patients are not receiving information on HIV/STI prevention, health insurance literacy and oral healthcare in pregnancy. Providers were also asked about their receptiveness to an online or mobile-based app. Overall, 68% of providers surveyed reported that they would be very likely to refer their patients to an online or mobile-based app, citing low attendance for in-person classes and the ability for online to help those in rural areas without reliable transportation.

Providers shared the following feedback:
-“Many of our patients are unable or unwilling to travel for classes.
Having classes online would be a helpful resource.”
-“The education in prenatal visits is limited and affordability for private classes is an issue for many. Regardless of socioeconomic status, all
birthing families need education.”
-“Mothers are not coming to traditional classes, they prefer online. Meets today’s mothers’ needs.”

Interestingly, patients interviewed via focus groups wanted additional information on postpartum care and cesarean sections. One participant stated, “It’s like after you have the baby, you’re deserted.” Patients expressed an interest in online or mobile-based prenatal education, noting that they would be more likely to use an online or app platform if referred by their care provider.

“The inclusion of health and insurance literacy in our prenatal education programs is vital to adequate healthcare access across the State. HMHB will be developing referral guides and toolkits to help educators and providers across the State to address the lack of options for women to receive comprehensive prenatal education”, says Elise Blasingame, Executive Director of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia.

“We will also launch a publicly available site for mothers and families across Georgia to access prenatal education for those who cannot access in-person classes or would like supplemental information.”HMHBGA is available to discuss the research findings and answer any additional questions concerning the report. Media requests can be sent to mica.whitfield@hmhbga.org 

This research project was funded by the Georgia Health Foundation.
Read the Full Report Here