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Mom, Baby Death Rates Cut By Nurse Home Visits

Update Date: Jul 08, 2014 02:18 AM EDT

Having home visits from nurses may help lower the risk of maternal death, according to a new study.

An ongoing study, which started in 1990, of very low-income, black mothers, revealed that those who received prenatal and infant and toddler nurse visits at home were significantly less likely to die than those who did not. They were also less likely to die of preventable causes by age 20.

The latest study involved 1,138 mothers who were assigned to one of four different treatment groups: treatment one involved transportation for prenatal care, treatment two involved transportation plus developmental screening for infants and toddlers, treatment three involved transportation plus prenatal and postnatal home visits, and treatment four consisted of transportation, screening, and prenatal, postpartum, and infant/toddler home visits through age two.

After analyzing all cause maternal mortality and preventable-case mortality like sudden infant death syndrome, unintentional injury and homicide in children, researchers found that the average 21-year maternal all-cause mortality rate was 3.7 percent in the combined control group (treatments one and two), 0.4 percent in treatment the third group, and 2.2 percent in treatment four.

Researchers noted that the age of preventable-cause child mortality rate was 1.6 percent in treatment two and 0 percent in treatment four.

"These findings should be replicated in well-powered trials with populations at very high levels of familial and neighborhood risk," researchers wrote in the study.

The findings were published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics

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