November 24, 1989
Another $1.4 million has just landed in the lap of people who want more prenatal care for poor Philadelphians. The Community Maternity Project will hire more counselors and nurses with the money, chipped in by the city Department of Health and nine foundations. It will try to reduce the number of babies who die in infancy, a figure that, for nonwhites, is twice the nation's average. Clearly, it is a well-meaning idea. And just as clearly, anything spent on care before a baby is born saves money later in high-tech hospitalization, retardation services and a host of other areas.
June 19, 1997 |
Nearly 9 percent of the babies born in Philadelphia and its Pennsylvania suburbs from 1991 to 1995 weighed five pounds or less, putting them at high risk for serious medical complications and developmental delays. In Philadelphia, there were more than 15,000 such low birth-weight babies, amounting to nearly 12 percent of all newborns in the five-year period. The figures fail to meet the 5 percent national goal set by the U.S. Public Health Service for 2000. To attack the problem, four private managed-care plans will soon begin using a common system to track the prenatal care provided to all poor women on Medicaid in Philadelphia, Bucks, Delaware, Chester and Montgomery Counties.
December 30, 1994 |
Let's hear it for the MomMobile. After a decade-long decline in prenatal care for pregnant women in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, the '90s have brought a modest upturn in care. City and state health agencies credit an array of mother-friendly programs - from Philly's roving MomMobile and outreach by dozens of community organizations to more generous Medicaid guidelines - for beginning, at last, to improve the statistics. That's the best part of a generally grim picture.
October 4, 1990 |
The sounds of strained breathing and a picture of an artificial respirator filled the auditorium of Lankenau Hospital at the inauguration of a prenatal care campaign by the March of Dimes Sept. 26. "Janet was born at 1.5 pounds. Her mother didn't know that getting pregnant was any reason to see a doctor. Janet sees lots of doctors now," goes the soundtrack of one of several television spots advocating prenatal care to be aired on four local television stations. Unlike similar public service announcements in Atlanta and New York, these include a hotline number, 1-800-660-2012, for advice on pregnancy and referral to Delaware Valley community groups.
April 19, 1991 |
Jeanette Twyman is 29, single, pregnant, on welfare and many miles from the nearest prenatal care for her unborn child. Until two months ago, Twyman, of Atglen, Chester County, could have attended a nearby clinic at the Brandywine Hospital and Trauma Center outside Coatesville. But in February, the center, one of two hospital-based clinics for poor, pregnant women in Chester County shut down. Because the Chester County Hospital is already on patient overload, the only option remaining for women like Twyman in Chester County is the Valley Forge Ob/Gyn, a private practice that treats women on welfare.
July 8, 1992 |
Sometimes the faces defy the statistics. Health Center Six, a city-funded health center with a prenatal clinic, sits on the edge of Northern Liberties, where nearly one-fifth of pregnant women receive no prenatal care. For every 1,000 babies born in 1990, 20 died. Yesterday, 19-year-old Cynthia Reyes of North Philadelphia sat quietly in the center waiting to see a doctor to make sure she and her second child, due next month, were still in good health. She had brought along William, her 22- month-old son, who's healthy today because she sought prenatal care two years ago. "I want to know how my baby's doing," said Reyes, who has been coming to the clinic for six months.
May 17, 1989 |
A pregnant woman arrives at a hospital's emergency room in labor and is soon to give birth. When asked what health care she received during pregnancy, the woman says she has had none or very little. Her medical chart is marked "unregistered. " That signals not only that the woman did not get prenatal care, but also that her baby's health may be at risk because of it. That scenario is repeated thousands of times each year in Philadelphia. In 1987, the last year for which the city Department of Public Health has statistics, more than 3,000 babies were born to mothers who received no prenatal care or only minimal care late in pregnancy.
November 26, 1993
Anyone with the most rudimentary information on How Babies Are Made (say, your average third-grader) knows there's a vast difference between contraception and abortion. This does not prevent lunatic anti-abortion crusaders from equating the two. The more sophisticated play dumb. Not only do they want to force their beliefs about abortion on everyone else, they also want to make everyone follow their rules against birth control. So here's a news flash for those who claim to care so deeply for "the babies," even after they're born: Not only is contraception not abortion, it is an integral part of prenatal care.
October 19, 1988 |
A committee of the National Academy of Sciences yesterday unveiled a proposal to increase prenatal care for an estimated 14.6 million women who lack private health insurance and Medicaid coverage and reduce the number of babies born diseased and handicapped. "Our nation has failed to give adequate priority to the principle that all pregnant women - not only the affluent - should receive prenatal, delivery and postpartum services," said panel chairwoman Joyce C. Lashof at a news conference.
May 16, 1989 |
Despite the wide availability of health-care services in the city, more women than ever are not getting medical care during pregnancy. Nearly one in every eight babies born in Philadelphia in 1987 - 3,352 babies - had mothers who received no prenatal care at all or only minimal care late in pregnancy, according to the latest statistics from the city Department of Public Health. That number represents the highest proportion of women failing to get adequate prenatal care since the city began keeping statistics in 1971.