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The prospect of having a child can be exciting and stresful. The work of one local organization aims to make it as successful as possible by seeking to lower the risk of delivering a premature baby.

Perinatal Network of Monroe County

t is not uncommon to hear about babies born early and tiny who are miraculously saved by modern medicine and the efforts of a neonatal intensive care unit, and we take theses medical advances for granted. Child birth is so common place that it seems as though all of our childbirth problems have been solved. In our gratitude, however, we need to remember the very real consequences of low birth weight and preterm delivery. premature babies aren't just small babies; they're babies who aren't finished developing.

  • Prematurity is the leading killer of babies in their first month of life and a major cause of long-term health problems, including cerebral palsy, mental retardation, blindness, chronic ling problems.

  • Low birth weight children score significantly lower on intelligence tests that do children of normal birth weight, even when sociodemographic risk factors are taken into account.

  • Researchers diagnosed attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder in 16% of the children born with birth weights of less than 1,000 grams (2 pounds, 3 ounces) compared with 6.9% of the children in a matched control group.

Taken as a whole, Monroe County appears to compare favorably to state and national targets for healthy births. However, there are nine zip codes within the county - all clustered around the center of the city of Rochester - that fall within the 20% of all New York State zip codes for high risk (defined by risk factors and birth outcomes).

While 8.2% of families county-wide live below the poverty level, nearly 43% of families in the city's poorest zip code do. Related sociodemographic factors follow suit: these are deeply challenged neighborhoods. The disparity in risk factors and birth outcomes predicts continuing cycles of individual and community stress.

Compared to the county average, women in the nine-zip area are nearly twice as likely to have low birth weight babies, over 40% more likely to deliver pre-term, annd are nearly twice as likely to have their babies die within the first year.

The Perinatal Network of Monroe County is committed to finding and sharing solutions that protect Rochester's babies. PNMC exists to improve the perinatal health care system in Monroe County, with a particular emphasis on access to and utilization of health and human services to improve pregnancy outcomes. Their focus is not on direct service delivery, but rather on identifying systemic barriers to healthy births and addressing them in collaboration with service providers.

PNMC pursues three pathways to better birth outcomes:
  • They bring perinatal information to non-perinatal health and human services organizations.

  • They facilitate coordination of the efforts of health and human services providers around perinatal services.

  • they develop and disseminate information and tools to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of perinatal service delivery.

Non-Perinatal Health and Human Services:
  • PNMC continues to sponsor the Rochester Outreach Workers Associiation to provide workers from throughout the community an opportunity to increase their skills, to learn how they can link women to perinatal services, and learn about one another's programs and services.

  • Active participation on community initiatives such as the Rochester Area Task Force on AIDS and the African American Health Status Task Force Work Group ensures that perinatal issues are considered.

Coordination of Efforts:
  • PNMC collaborates with Unity Health System in the Healthy Start Center, an integrated health care and human services delivery site. the Center links an OB practice, a pediatric practice, mental health counseling, and a variety of social services. On-site childcare is provided for program participants and transportation is available both to and from the Center and to other locations that participants need to visit for additional services.

  • PNMC coordinates the collection, analysis and dissemination of perinatal data to health and human services providers.

  • The Network leads a consortium of local health and human service providers and consumers to identify and address gaps in service and obstacles to access and utilization. They convene special-purpose collaboratives to address specific issues, including perinatal oral health, smoking cessation, and perinatal mood disorders.

Resources and Information:
  • The Perinatal Resource Directory lists a wide variety of resources available in the community to support pregnant and parenting women.

  • The Perinatal Depression Directory lists all sources of support and treatment for women experiencing perinatal mood disorders.

  • The Latino Health Directory, produced in collaboration with the Latina Alliance, lists health care resources that are culturally and linguistically competent to serve the Latino/Hispanic community.

Just a Few Days Old babies carried full term go home from the hospital sooner to begin the bonding process with their parents.

Perinatal Network of Monroe County exists to serve you before, during and after your pregnancy. To learn more about the ways that you can take advantage of their services, the workshops that are offered and the informational materials that are available, you can either call or visit the website. Their contact information is below.

Main Office:
339 East Avenue, Suite 203
Rochester, NY 146o4

Phone: 585 546-4930
Fax: 585 546-3021
Copyright Outreach Community Center © 2009. All Rights Reserved.
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