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Custom-tailored antenatal care for vulnerable pregnant women, Artesis Plantijn University College Antwerp

Vulnerable pregnant women have extra care needs. Pregnant women with a low socioeconomic status (SES) experience a negative impact on pregnancy outcomes and on the health of the very young child (0-3 years). Pregnant women with low SES have more chronic illnesses and experience more stress. Prematurity, intrauterine growth retardation, low birth weight, congenital infections and perinatal morbidity and mortality are complications that are more likely to occur in this group. In 2012 in Flanders, 1 out of 10 children under the age of 12 lived in families with an increased risk of poverty.

This study takes place in Antwerp, which is a port town. For various reasons, the city attracts a large number of people at risk of poverty. Looking at the different risk factors, several figures indicate that poverty in Antwerp has increased in recent years and poverty rates are higher compared to other areas in Flanders.

The concept of vulnerability has been frequently studied and analyzed in health care sciences over the last few decades. Despite the operationalization and concept analyses, there is still no consensus about the definition of vulnerability and the way in which it can be identified. The trend towards more monitoring by midwives offers a unique opportunity to catch alertness to and remediation of vulnerability in the care process. Also research emphasizes the need to act proactively and collaborate with other disciplines in combination with more attention to women in disadvantaged situations.

This study aims at optimizing perinatal care and the central research question of this project is: What is the effect of a custom-tailored antenatal care for vulnerable pregnant women  living in Antwerp on the neonatal outcome and the health of the very young child?

The present study focuses on the experience and perception of midwives concerning vulnerability during pregnancy of disadvantaged pregnant women in Antwerp. Professionals (social workers and midwives) will be asked about their definition of vulnerability by means of focus groups.

Based on this qualitative research, a tool to map vulnerability by midwives will be developed, implemented and tested.  An important focus of this research project is to raise awareness in professionals for any kind of vulnerability in disadvantaged pregnant women. The developed instrument will also facilitate the implementation of the required support in pregnancy. In the final stage, a care program will be presented. Finally, recommendations for both municipal, regional, provincial and federal policy levels will be formulated in order to improve the health outcomes for disadvantaged mothers and their children.


Institution: Artesis Plantijn University College Antwerp

Research group: Health and Social Care

Address: Artesis Plantijn University College Antwerp, Noorderplaats 2, B-2000 Antwerp

Website: www.ap.be

Project coordinator:

Inge Meyvis
inge.meyvis@ap.be
0032 (0)3 220 32 68

Saskia Van Besauw
saskia@kraamvogel.be


 



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