Putting An End To Homelessness Of Pregnant Women: Holistic Interventions For Addressing Birth Outcomes And Maternal Risks
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
AbstractHomelessness is an epidemic in the United States, where over half a million people find themselves without housing nightly. This is especially concerning when considering those who are forced to bring in the next generation into an unstable home environment – those who find themselves in the unique situation of experiencing homelessness and pregnancy simultaneously. Children born to mothers who were homeless during pregnancy are at a higher risk for intergenerational poverty, homelessness, victimization, substance abuse, and chronic illness – many of which stem from the lasting health effects from disproportionately high rates of fetal birth defects, underdevelopment, and low birth weight in these babies. When the health of the mother and their child in gestation are understood as interconnected, we can focus on factors which contribute to the holistic picture of the mother’s health – and consequently their infant’s health. This involves a close look at the socioeconomic and environmental factors which contribute to the prevalence of poor birth outcomes in the unique population of homeless, pregnant women. With understanding the intersecting factors which shape their overall picture of health, the model of shelters as a novel intervention can then serve as a treatment which may address many of these concerns in a long term, effective, and comprehensive way. This intervention seeks to understand and eradicate the underlying socioeconomic burdens which underscore the prevalence of adverse birth outcomes among this population in the first place.