When a woman finds out she is pregnant, there are a million and one things that go through her mind. Pregnancy support can be defined in a variety of ways including support from family members, close friends, co-workers, medical staff and outside programs. According to a study completed by Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group, women who participate in a support group aimed at preventing high risk of low birth weight deliveries earn no benefit from the pregnancy support.
Who Was Included in the Pregnancy Support Services Study?
A total of 17 trials were included in the pregnancy support report. These 17 trials included more than 12,000 who took part in pregnancy support services. Pregnancy support services included emotional support, transportation, information, advice and education. Women included in the study were evaluated for risk of having babies either low birth weight or born prematurely. Other considerations such as when prenatal care was started and the professional status of the primary care provider (physician or other) were also taken into consideration.
What Was the Outcome of the Study?
Women included in the report on pregnancy support services showed no reduction in risk. When compared with the control group, generally the same number of women gave birth early or to low birth weight babies, regardless of any interaction with pregnancy support services. There was a reduction, however, in cesarean sections and post birth hospitalization which could be associated with pregnancy support services being present after the birth of baby as opposed to before birth.
What are the Risks of Having a Preterm or Low Birth Weight Infant?
Infants born prematurely or at a lower than average birth weights are at increased risk for lung problems, vision problems and disease. These effects can last for several months up to one year after birth or longer, depending on the severity of the case.
How Can Low Birth Weight and Premature Delivery be Prevented?
In some cases, low birth weight babies and babies born prematurely are affected by social habits such as drinking, smoking or taking street drugs while pregnant, according to the March of Dimes. These habits need to be stopped during pregnancy to decrease the risk of low birth weight and premature delivery.
Taking advantage of prenatal care, prenatal vitamins and a healthy pregnancy diet can also greatly decrease the risk of having a premature infant or an infant of low birth weight. When habit and lifestyle changes are paired with pregnancy support services, the impact could be far greater than the impact of these services alone.
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