Pregnancy is a time of mixed emotions; joy, fear, stress and anticipation. A strong support team is top priority for an expectant mother and is essential both throughout the pregnancy and after delivery.

Premature births account for 1 in every 10 pregnancies and carry both a monetary toll for employers and families and potential medical complications for the premature baby. The March of Dimes estimates almost half of premature baby hospital costs were billed to employers and other private insurers. These charges equate to more than $26.2 billion every year. A breakdown of that cost is as follows:

  • $16.9 billion in medical and healthcare costs for the baby
  • $1.9 billion in labor and delivery costs for the mother
  • $611 million in early intervention services from birth to age 3 for those with disabilities and development delays
  • $1.1 billion for special education services for those age 3 to 21 for help in development and learning
  • $5.7 billion in lost work and pay for people born prematurely

To best ensure a healthy pregnancy and outcomes for mom and baby, as well as, decreased costs to employers, a strong maternity management program should be in place.

Programs deployed to identify and enroll all mothers-to-be early in pregnancy have demonstrated a reduction in premature birth rates.  It is equally important to target everyone; not just those at high-risk as education during this time is invaluable. In addition, studies show the importance of early program enrollment; a little education and guidance can go a long way toward helping expectant mothers experience full-term pregnancies.

What to Look For in a Maternity Management Program

When evaluating maternity management programs, employers should look to ensure they offer the following:

  1. Experienced maternity health coaches who can build trusting relationships with the member.
  2. Integrating of the maternity program with the company’s other health care offerings such as wellness, disease management, etc. Through integration, early identification of known risk factors can be addressed, a single point of contact is offered and a more complete health assessment is delivered.

Offering a robust maternity management program benefits both you and your employees. Mothers who build a trusting relationship with their health coach and have educational resources at their fingertips can go on to have a full-term healthy pregnancy; leading to reduced time away from work, medical bills and future medical complications for themselves and their baby.