Inequalities in pregnancy

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What are health inequalities?

Health inequalities are avoidable differences in health status or determinants between population groups.

Reducing health inequalities requires a universal approach:

'To reduce the steepness of the social gradient in health, actions must be universal, but with a scale and intensity that is proportionate to the level of disadvantage. We call this proportionate universalism.'

Marmot Review (external link)

They are not usually the result of a single factor but rather a complex matrix of lifestyle choices, personal history and circumstances, and access to services.

How do inequalities impact on health and pregnancy in Scotland?

Inequalities begin before birth, can adversely impact health throughout adult life, and can persist across generations. Inequalities can impact on pregnancy, including maternal and perinatal death. Ethinicty and deprivation remain important associates of stillbirth and neonatal death and reducing stillbirths and neonatal deaths in these groups remain a difficult but vital public health challenge (Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries, March 2011)

In Scotland in 2005-06, healthy life expectancy at birth was 67.9 years for men and 69 years for women. Meanwhile, in the most deprived 15% of areas, healthy life expectancy at birth was 57.3 years for men and 59 years for women (from Equally Well).

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Policy context

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Policy

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Professional support materials

Information for the public

  • External Resource

    Adult disability benefits advice

    Information from the Citizen's Advice Bureau on the benefits available to people who are sick or disabled.

    • When was this published? 8/17/2010
  • External Resource

    CHILDREN 1st website

    CHILDREN 1st offers a range of services to children and families, including counselling and mediation, befriending and trauma support.

    • When was this published? 8/17/2010
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    Citizens Advice Scotland

    Citizens advice bureaux are free, confidential, independent and impartial. They offer a wide range of advice including help with benefits, tax, consumer and legal problems.

    • When was this published? 8/18/2010
  • External Resource

    Department of Inland Revenue – child benefit information

    Up-to-date information about child benefit from the government.

    • When was this published? 5/27/2013
  • External Resource

    ENABLE

    ENABLE Scotland is a charity that campaigns for the rights of people with learning disabilities, as well as offering help and support to them and their families.

    • When was this published? 8/17/2010
  • External Resource

    Homeless families – Shelter

    Shelter is a charity. Each year it helps more than 170,000 people a year fight for their rights, get back on their feet, and find and keep a home.

    • When was this published? 8/18/2010
  • External Resource

    Home-Start

    Home-Start is a charity that offers help and support to families that are struggling to cope. The goal is to make these families more confident and therefore more independant.

    • When was this published? 8/17/2010
  • External Resource

    Money Advice Service

    Offers free, clear, unbiased advice to help manage money.

    • When was this published? 5/6/2011
  • External Resource

    My Pregnancy My Choice

    Book for expectant parents with learning disabilities. This book is available free of charge to Early Years professionals in Scotland from NHS Health Scotland as an alternative to Ready Steady Baby! To order contact nhs.HealthScotland-EarlyYears@nhs.net.

    • When was this published? 5/27/2013
  • External Resource

    National debt line

    The helpline that provides free confidential and independent advice on how to deal with debt problems.

    • When was this published? 5/6/2011
  • External Resource

    One Parent Families Scotland

    Being a lone parent can be a complicated business. This organisation provides a range of factsheets covering many of the issues faced by single parents. Individual copies are free to all.

    • When was this published? 8/17/2010
  • External Resource

    REFRESH website

    The refresh website offers advice for parents and professionals on how to reduce children's exposure to second-hand smoke.

    • When was this published? 9/2/2013
  • External Resource

    Shelter Scotland

    Shelter Scotland gives advice, information and advocacy to people in housing need.

    • When was this published? 8/17/2010
  • External Resource

    Single parent families - Q&A fact sheets [857KB]

    Fact sheets providing information for single parent families on a range of subjects including money, childcare, education and employment.

    • When was this published? 5/27/2013
  • External Resource

    Violence reduction posters and leaflets

    The Violence Reduction Unit has a range of posters available which are free to download and can be amended, leaflets targeting parents and children are available which details simple, everyday ways for parents to help to reduce the risk of violence in a child’s life.

    • When was this published? 5/23/2013