The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is encouraging pregnant women to get prenatal care as soon as they know they are pregnant to reduce the risk of pregnancy related complications and infant mortality. The “Know and Go” public awareness campaign, launched today, promotes prenatal care among women in neighborhoods and populations that are at highest risk of infant mortality.
“Prenatal care can save lives,” said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, MD. “We know that with early and regular prenatal visits, mothers can have healthier pregnancies and give their babies a healthy start. So if you know or even think you might be pregnant, go to your doctor or healthcare provider.”
Early prenatal care is critical to both the health of mother and baby; and not only provides opportunities to address key factors that contribute to infant mortality, but is shown to improve outcomes for both child and adolescent health once the baby is born.
In Chicago, these is a noted disparity in both infant mortality and the rates by which mothers in certain areas of the city begin access to prenatal care. As of 2013, African American mothers had a rate of infant mortality more than twice that of any other racial/ethnic group in the city and state. Furthermore, between 2010 and 2013, more than 30 percent of African American mothers reported that they did not receive prenatal care in the first trimester, compared to only 6 percent of non-Hispanic White mothers.
“Lack of prenatal care is still contributing to disparities in infant mortality,” said Dr. Lisa Masinter, CDPH Medical Director. “There are complications that can be easily identified and prevented with prenatal care so we hope this campaign empowers and supports every mother to take this important step towards keeping herself and her baby as healthy as possible.”
Addressing disparities across the city is a central tenet of the Healthy Chicago 2.0 citywide plan, launched by CDPH earlier this year. Overall, the city is working to reduce infant mortality citywide by 10 percent—a goal outlined in Healthy Chicago 2.0.
The “Know and Go” ad campaign features images of women reflective of the community and encourages early entry to prenatal care. The ads will be featured on CTA buses and trains, digital billboards, and in local doctor’s offices in neighborhoods on the south and west sides that are disproportionately affected by infant mortality.
The Know and Go campaign is one lever in a citywide effort to reduce infant mortality, with a focus on reducing this crisis in the hardest hit communities, largely concentrated on the south and west sides of the city. This campaign supports CDPH’s strategy to ensure access and entry into early prenatal care, and also includes community outreach and education; and increased accessibility to resources for growing families. To help families and young mothers to access critical prenatal care early and often, a new comprehensive, citywide, maternal and child health resource guide, developed through a partnership with Purple Binder, is accessible on the HealthyChicagoBabies.org website.
For more information about the city’s initiative to decrease infant mortality visit HealthyChicagoBabies.org.