Term of Award

Fall 1996

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

June Alberto

Committee Member 1

ElDonna Hilde


The infants born too small and too soon because of preterm delivery account for 60%-70% of the perinatal morbidity and mortality (U. S. Public Health Service, 1989). Infants born preterm are 40 times more likely to be LBW (low birth weight) and die in the first year of life. Preterm birth prevention progams attempted to identify women at greatest risk for preterm delivery and offered specialized prenatal care and teaching in order to delay delivery until term.

Nurmerous preterm birth prevention programs were implemented in the 1980's and early ^gO's. Their effectiveness was documented by decreases in the number of LBW and VLBW (very low birth weight) infants bron and decreases in preterm infant numbers. The ultimate impact was seen in a decrease in infant mortality rates. Mixed results of numerous studies confused professionals and jeopardized funding for many programs in the United States. Many controlled, randomized trials found no difference in treatment vs. control groups, whereas retrospective historical studies found decreasing rates of preterm deliveries, LBW, and VLBW infants, especially with both white and black, middle class, as well as indigent populations.

A retrospective, descriptive research design was utilized to evaluate the birth outcomes of 173 high risk, preterm labor patients seen in a preterm birth prevention program. The rates of preterm deliveries, birth of LBW, and VLBW infants and the infant mortality rates of the county that occurred in 1989 to 1992 were described, the data were analyzed using frequency distributions, percentages, and descriptive statistics.

The results of the study showed a decrease in the overall infant mortality rate during the study year, 1990-1991, when the data were collected, and a dramatic decrease in white infant mortality rates were seen in all years of the program's operation. All rates of black, white, and total infant mortality rates increased in 1992, after the program ended for lack of on-going state funding.


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