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Am J Public Health. 1985 March; 75(3): 246–253.
PMCID: PMC1646184

A controlled evaluation of rural regional perinatal care: impact on mortality and morbidity.


The impact of a rural regional perinatal care (RPC) program was assessed by a quasi-experimental, controlled, population-based design. Outcome measures included changes in five-year average fetal and neonatal mortality rates as well as short-term obstetric and newborn morbidity. Declines in fetal and neonatal as well as birthweight specific mortality rates were observed for both pilot and control regions, for both races, and especially for 1501-2500 g infants. However, comparisons of preprogram (1966-74) and postprogram (1975-80) average yearly changes showed no statistically significant differences between regions. While the incidence of prenatal morbidity was the same for both regions, intrapartum and newborn morbidity significantly favored the pilot region. These results were difficult to interpret. Program relevant implications of the findings in relation to rural RPC in North Carolina are discussed. Specific benefits appeared to be associated with the development of two high-risk maternity clinics and a Level II center capability in the pilot region. The importance of community support and public/private sector cooperation in relation to RPC is noted.

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Selected References

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