The Pregnancy Summit held at London’s O2 Centre at the end of September 2015 drew an international audience and speakers from across the medical profession. What united these delegates was a passion for maternal rights and best practice in maternal care.
The theme running through this event was how better maternal care is about education. And that education has to embrace everyone, from the teenager who may become pregnant through more mature patients and on to the medical profession itself.
Dr Dianne Morrison-Beedy beamed with justifiable pride when recounting how her Health Improvement Project for Teens (HIP Teens) work in South Florida has reduced pregnancy rates by 50% in the target group. There is no great secret to this. The intervention consists of talking, educating, and introducing peers who can speak from the heart.
Put together all of this had the dramatic effect of halving teen pregnancy rates as a direct consequence of improved behavioural skills imparted during HIP Teens. The scheme is about much more than reduced teen pregnancies. Dr Morrison-Beedy’s clinic is tackling the health and social costs associated with unplanned pregnancy.
HIP Teens graduates are far more likely to complete higher education and hence get a well-paid job, contributing more to society in terms of work and taxes. They have learnt the maternal rights code that women should have the ability to choose pregnancy when they want it. This means that the children they subsequently bear will enjoy better physical and social well-being.
Maternal rights is about creating a virtuous circle. And the evidence for this was on display at the Summit. We interviewed medical experts present at the Pregnancy Summit event in London, during Safe Motherhood Week. Here is what they said:
In the UK institutions such as Birmingham Women’s Hospital are showing the way in terms of pregnancy sickness support. Nurse Caitlin Dean spoke about the way intravenous (IV) rehydration units can help mothers afflicted with severe pregnancy sickness, or hyperemesis. These are being rolled out across UK hospitals.
The economic argument for these units is compelling. By establishing out-patient care dedicated to hyperemesis overnight stays are converted into daytime visits. Simple rehydration is lifting an economic burden from the health system. So the best care for pregnant women suffering from hyperemesis turns out to be the most cost-effective treatment too.
An experience of carefully planned pregnancy care is in effect a blueprint for social and economic growth. That represents a compelling argument for the whole of society.