Next Steps for the Perinatal Networks
The Perinatal Networks have helped achieve the statewide improvements in perinatal health indicators over the past twenty years; there is more to be done. With the focus of each network on their specific community or region, each has – and will continue to monitor their own communities to ensure continued improvements are occurring and that the health and community services systems include the appropriate array of services in order to support and promote optimal perinatal and infant outcomes. While there have been tremendous inroads in improving the healthy outcomes of women of childbearing age (15 – 44 years) and their children, racial and ethnic disparities in perinatal health outcomes continue to exist and must be addressed. Disparities in infant and maternal mortality, prematurity and low birthweight infants, substance use by pregnant women and rates of poverty affect overall health, wellness and quality of life.