Monday, February 6, 2012

Baby Steps

While reading The Starting Gate, the question I asked the most was “What can we do?,” so the section on preventive measures was particularly salient for me. In particular, addressing nutrition of pregnant woman seems very important. If we can’t eliminate income inequality overnight, then can’t measures be taken in order to eliminate many of the inequalities associated with it, such as the disparities in nutritional content? Programs such as Medicaid which provides pregnant women with enough funding for two individuals rather than one and WIC’s prioritizing women at biological risk for funding should be commended. However, they also bring up a couple of issues that should be addressed. First, what implications would it have for the legal status of the fetus? This is a very politically heated topic and one that might be a roadblock to support of programs that aim to increase the nutrition of pregnant women. Second, how long does the process take to receive additional funding? How much would bureaucracy hinder the ability for pregnant women to receive adequate support? If it takes a month, that could have a substantial impact on the development of the fetus like we learned in lecture about the impact Ramadan has on the fetus particularly in the first month of development. Which brings me to my third question, how much importance does the health of the mother prior to conception impact the development of the fetus? It should be expected that addressing the health of the mother in general before she gets pregnant would potentially make significant strides in reducing the risk that she gives birth to a LBW child. It should go without saying that ideally the health of all individuals should be supported, but perhaps targeting a subset of the population, in this case pregnant women, would facilitate a larger conversation about the health of the nation. Programs that seek to reduce the risk of giving birth to LBW children are not only economically wise but they would also greatly improve future lives.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with the overall point that you are making regarding taking baby steps in order to reach the overall goals. However, it is not so easy to just say since we cannot eliminate income inequalities overnight, let us look at specific point such as disparities in nutrition as you brought up. These problems are one in the same. Nutritious food itself is expensive and probably not the top priority when someone is being supported by Medicaid. I understand your desire to come up with a practical solution that tries to focus on the smaller parts of the problem. However, by trying to separate the many issues all related to the overall problem, you may end up realizing that the main problem is not even being addressed anymore. I also agree that by targeting a subset of the population, as you said pregnant women, it could facilitate a larger conversation about the health of the nation. I hope that one day people take the issue of LBW children and their mothers more seriously, but with all the other problems in health care our nation faces, it takes a back seat. Sorry for all of the pessimism, just trying to think critically.