Could We Prevent Disability by Funding More Education Programs for Students and Future Parents?

Adult hand holding infant's hand

Could we provide more funding of education and assistance programs for students and future parents on healthy prenatal care, risk factors of disability and the importance of their role in protecting the unborn?

This Prevention Report is a call for education and training for hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other attendants of birth to lead the call for prevention to advise students and parents about healthy prenatal care.

Medical science does acknowledge the cause of some Developmental Disabilities. For instance it is thought that fetal alcohol syndrome is caused by the mother drinking alcohol during pregnancy. We as a society know now, how to prevent this syndrome, but how seriously do birth mothers take these warnings? Have we really done our best to educate people to the effects of alcohol on the unborn or for that matter any of the other known substances that cause disability?

No one wants to scare people from having children, but with knowledge comes informed parents. Public school health education places great emphasis on not shaking a baby as this can cause injury, and they teach to live a healthy lifestyle to have a healthy baby.

Very important is actual healthy prenatal care. It is documented that healthy baby programs assist parents to carry babies to full term and that these programs do reduce Developmental Disabilities. (1)

Parents should be educated and informed on current risks and benefits of obstetric procedures and medications so they can make informed decisions in conjunction with health care professionals about elective procedures during routine childbirth, such as elective induction of labor or use of anesthetics.

It is mandated to wear a seat belt to drive a car, yet how informed are we on the procedures used to bring a baby safely into this world? Require by law that doctors make information available to all expectant parents months prior to delivery to enable parents to ask questions and have a voice in any health decisions.

This is a call for “Educational efforts for public awareness of the benefits and importance of preventing or favorably timing pregnancies that could or may be high-risk, seeking prenatal care early during pregnancy, and seeking periodic well-baby care for infants. Improve access to health care for low income women, including health education, family planning, prenatal and well baby care, labor and delivery services and newborn intensive care.” (2)

If you have information about the prevention of disability, please comment or send us an e-mail.

NHU invites you to visit our Report on the Prevention of Disabilities which focuses on the prevention of Developmental Disabilities.


(1) Alma Roberts, MPH, FACHE, “Urban Healthy Start Program Offers Support at Each Stage of Childbearing Cycle, Leading to Fewer Low- and Very Low–Birth weight Babies” (Baltimore Healthy Start (Baltimore, MD) <> (09 December 2014).

(2) Senate, Efforts to Reduce Infant Mortality and Improve Pregnancy Outcome, Gregory J Ahart, USGAO (Washington, D.C., 1980), pp. 1-39.

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