At Cradle Cincinnati, improving data around pregnancy is absolutely central to our work. This is the third in a series of posts about how data can help drive healthy change for Hamilton County.

In 2013, fewer than 21% of Hamilton County pregnant women on Medicaid were reached with the kinds of social support that we know can make a difference.

Our community has many great programs designed to serve women and babies living in poverty. A focus on women in poverty is important because those families are 2.5 times more likely to experience an infant death. But there is an enormous gap between the number of families that need service and those who are reached by these programs.  In 2013, there were 10,741 births in Hamilton County.  4,446 of those were to Moms being served by Medicaid.  Collectively, our programs only had the resources to serve 913 of them.

Recently, we partnered with all seven of the programs working in Hamilton County in order to identify the size of the gap: Every Child Succeeds, Health Care Access Now, the Community Action Agency’s Pregnant Moms Program, community health workers at the Cincinnati Health Department, Healthy Moms and Babes, TriHealth Outreach Ministries and the Maternal Addiction Center at First Step Home. This sharing of data between organizations is an enormous step in the right direction. Our next task is to share data around outcomes and important measures of success such as how early moms were reached in their pregnancy by each program.

We assert that this data gives our community three mandates for change:

  • For policymakers and funders: More resources are needed to serve vulnerable women. Incentives should be included to reach women as early as possible in their pregnancy.
  • For service providers: We need to reach more women earlier if we want to address preterm birth and infant mortality. Reaching women after birth has limited impact. By carefully tracking gestational age of entry into our programs and working with prenatal care providers and community partners, we can develop interventions that will drive that number down.
  • For pregnant women in need: Connect with help today. Say yes to a healthy pregnancy. Call 211 to find out more. The earlier you get help, the better for both you and baby.