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National Child & Maternal Health Education Program

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The National Child & Maternal Health Education Program (NCMHEP) is the first national education program of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Pregnant women 

The NICHD created the NCMHEP together with more than 30 of the nation’s most prominent maternal and child health care provider associations, federal agencies, and other partners. The Program’s objectives are to identify key challenges in child and maternal health, review relevant research, identify research gaps, initiate activities, and propose solutions to advance the field. Visit the NCMHEP Coordinating Committee webpage for a full list of member organizations.

NCMHEP Activities

Late Preterm Birth

Each year, preterm birth affects 1 in every 8 infants born in the United States—that's nearly 500,000 babies. Since 2006, the rate of late preterm births (occurring between 34 and 36 full weeks of gestation) decreased by 11%. Health care providers: Watch this roundtable discussion to learn more about the factors contributing to the rates of early-term and late preterm births, the potential consequences of births before 39 weeks' gestation, and evidence-based guidelines for delivery prior to 39 weeks.

Elective Deliveries Before 39 Weeks

The NCMHEP is working to reduce the number of nonmedically indicated elective deliveries by educating doctors and patients about the risks associated with elective delivery prior to 39 weeks. The Is It Worth It? initiative explains why it's important to mother and baby's health to wait until at least 39 weeks of pregnancy to deliver if the mother or child's health is not in danger.

New Definition of Full-Term Pregnancy

The meaning of "term" pregnancy has changed. "Term" has been replaced by more specific definitions that communicate the importance of the last few weeks of pregnancy in infant development. The NCMHEP initiated the Know Your Terms Initiative to educate consumers and health care providers about the new definition of full-term pregnancy. Learn why the new definitions are important to promoting the best outcomes for mom and baby.

Last Reviewed: 09/04/2014