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Improving Maternal and Child Health Through Interconception Care

Statement of Problem

Birth outcomes are worsening in the United States and demonstrate stark racial inequities. More specifically, Black birthing individuals currently experience three times the rate of maternal mortality compared to White birthing individuals and twice the rate of preterm births. 

There is a growing understanding that preventive care is crucial to improve pregnancy outcomes, decrease health care costs and increase health equity. The interconception period, which spans from one birth to a subsequent conception, is a key period for health promotion. During this time, preventive services can improve birth outcomes by monitoring for and addressing postpartum complications. In addition, because 60% of births in the U.S. are repeat births, interconception health promotion can improve outcomes in subsequent pregnancies by supporting chronic disease management, pregnancy spacing and early entry into prenatal care. 

The interconception period is also a critical time for infant health. For infants, their early growth and development contributes to future health, and that growth and development is influenced by parents’ health. The importance of the interconception period has recently been emphasized by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the National Academies of Medicine regarding the transition from obstetrical to primary care, and by federal and state efforts to extend Medicaid coverage for the full year after birth. 

Furthermore, during the interconception period, individuals interact with the health care system both as patients in adult settings and as parents in pediatric settings. Pediatricians are increasingly attentive to the need to address maternal health issues such as postpartum depression. Despite this overlap, coordination between adult and pediatric settings around preventive health for families is rare, leading to potential gaps in care or redundancies in mother-infant services. 


Improving Maternal and Child Health Through Interconception Care


These findings demonstrate that pediatric health systems may be well-positioned to provide intergenerational family services to help coordinate preventive care for mothers and their children.

Next Steps

Taken together, this research demonstrates both substantial interconception utilization of care and substantial gaps in care. We found opportunities to offer preventive services during infant visits, but also demonstrated that providing integrated preventive care to mother-infant dyads is not the norm, even in circumstances where one office could feasibly offer care to both members of the dyad. Next steps to improve care and reduce burdens for families may include understanding health care structures and processes that support integrated care for mother-infant dyads and exploring care navigation strategies to address fragmented care in the interconception period.

This project page was lasted updated in May 2023. 

Suggested Citation

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PolicyLab. Improving Maternal & Child Health Through Interconception Care [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: plug in date accessed here]. 

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