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Nurse Visits to Low-Income Mothers Improve Child Development, Study Shows

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- A program providing home visitation by nurses to low-income first-time mothers in the two years following the birth of their child is helping to reduce "rapid second pregnancies," according to a study by PolicyLab at The Philadelphia Children's Hospital. 

The study, which was published Monday in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, reviewed clients living in 17 urban and six rural areas of Pennsylvania where the program was implemented between 2000 and 2007. 

The study showed no immediate effects in the program's early years, however, program participants whose first children were born after 2003 had fewer second pregnancies.  Study leaders said the reduction in rapid second pregnancies was "two-fold" in rural areas compared to urban locations.

"The continued effectiveness of the program following implementation was encouraging, but particularly striking were the strong effects among young rural mothers," said study leader David Rubin, M.D., M.S.C.E., a pediatric researcher at Children's Hospital.

The project, supported by a grant from Pennsylvania's Department of Public Welfare, paired nurses with low-income families "to improve the child's health and development" and lower the family's dependence on federal assistance programs such as welfare.

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