Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi
Podcast:Improving maternal health starts before pregnancy

Improving maternal health starts before pregnancy

Women’s Pavilion of South Mississippi, Merit Health – Wesley and Northbay Family Medical are featured on the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association – Health of America Podcast on maternal health. The podcast takes a closer look at the risk women have before, during and after pregnancy.

Pregnancy complications have increased in the U.S.

The podcast accompanies findings from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) which found that both pregnancy and childbirth complications increased 16.4% and 14.2% respectively, with women who experience pregnancy complications becoming twice as likely to have childbirth complications as well. The new BCBSA report, “Trends in pregnancy and childbirth complications in the U.S.," part of the Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Health of America Report® series, which examined 1.8 million pregnancies between 2014 and 2018 among commercially insured women ages 18-44.

Millennial moms are more at risk.

Millennial women make up 85% of all pregnancies in the U.S. According to The Health of Millennials report, this age group has experienced a double-digit increase in eight of the 10 top health conditions like major depression, hypertension and type II diabetes, which may lead to higher risks of pregnancy and childbirth complications as well. Since 2014, pregnant women ages 18-44 have seen a:


increase in major depression


increase in hypertension


increase in Type II diabetes

Our Maternity Quality Model focuses on improving maternal health.

Provider Networks at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi noticed a rise in risky births in 2015, including higher rates of C-sections and complications during childbirth. The Maternity Quality Model, a statewide initiative that includes evidenced-based guidelines was created to focus on improving maternal infant health outcomes and making childbirth safer to combat these trends. Goals of the initiative include women being healthier before pregnancy, helping hospitals train and prepare for childbirth emergencies and the continued tracking of data to see what can be improved.

“In order to have a healthy baby and a healthy birth we have to address the health status of the woman before she becomes pregnant,”

said Casey Bland, Registered Nurse at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi.

“If we can impact certain chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes prior to pregnancy or lower the risk of developing these conditions then we will see an impact on the delivery side. We’ll see fewer C-sections and less premature births.”

Typically, a Primary Care Physician would address these chronic conditions in women prior to pregnancy. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi embedded health coaches and nutritionists in OB-GYN offices to help women manage chronic diseases and lead healthier lives.

“OB-GYNs have a unique role in Mississippi,” said Price Davis, Manager, Provider Innovation at Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi. “Females view there OB-GYNs as their primary physician. We saw another opportunity to create a Women’s Wellness Home, where all the needs a woman may have can be addressed with their OB-GYN. We partnered with OB-GYNs to provide them with the best practice guidelines and continuing education to accomplish this.”

A healthier today leads to a healthier tomorrow.

Giving families a healthy start to life begins with ownership of health. Patients are encouraged to have annual visits with their Blue Primary Care Network Provider, focus on health numbers to address risks and chronic conditions and make lifestyle changes based on individual wellness plans. Healthy steps today are leading to healthier futures. Listen to the podcast here.

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