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Changing the realities of poverty in pregnancy

Pregnant women from disadvantaged, vulnerable or excluded groups are more likely to have poorer maternal and neonatal outcomes. In Bradford, a three-year pilot project is targeting pregnant women in some of the poorest areas to improve the health of mothers and babies.

Living conditions can have a huge effect on the health of pregnant women and their babies, with stark differences between the well-off and those living in poverty.

Picture credit: Alamy

The government’s UK-wide Healthy Start scheme provides means-tested vouchers for milk, fruit and vegetables to women from disadvantaged, vulnerable or excluded groups, who are more likely to have poorer maternal and neonatal outcomes. This includes infant mortality, low birthweight and postnatal depression. They are less likely to access maternity services early, stay in touch with health services during pregnancy, have a well-balanced diet, stop smoking and breastfeed.

Lottery-funded

‘We cannot tackle everything, but we can start from the basics,’ says Bradford community matron midwife Yvonne Rowlan. She is helping spearhead a three-year lottery-funded pilot involving seven community midwives and a support worker. Launched in October and targeting 400 pregnant women in disadvantaged areas of the

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