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Maternal and Child Health 

Maternal and Child Health
Chapter:
Maternal and Child Health
Author(s):

Heidi K. Roeber Rice

and Brian C. Brost

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199743018.003.0008
Page of

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date: 19 September 2018

The habits and health of mothers and children have lifelong significance to the well-being of a nation and the world. Healthy People 2010, a statement of national health objectives, aims to increase the quality and years of healthy life and to eliminate health disparities. It includes maternal, infant, and child health as focus areas. Early recognition and detection of problems, followed by treatment and ongoing assessment, can lead to considerable reductions in preventable morbidity and mortality for women and children. Preconception counseling and early prenatal care may improve pregnancy outcomes through risk assessment, risk reduction, and patient education. Newborn assessment begins immediately after birth (Apgar score, physical examination). Screening for metabolic diseases is a part of public health programs throughout the United States. Sudden infant death syndrome is the leading cause of postnatal death. The cause is likely multifactorial and involves biological vulnerability and environmental stressors. Assessment of normal developmental milestones should occur routinely to detect developmental delays. Adolescence is when life-long health habits are established. It is an opportunity to introduce preventive health care issues by addressing risk-taking behaviors.

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