Background: Geographical inequalities in perinatal health and child welfare require attention. To improve the identification, and care, of mothers and young children at risk of adverse health outcomes, the HP4All-2 program was developed. The program consists of three studies, focusing on creating a continuum for risk selection and tailored care pathways from preconception and antenatal care towards 1) postpartum care, 2) early childhood care, as well as 3) interconception care. The program has been implemented in ten municipalities in the Netherlands, aiming to target communities with a relatively disadvantageous position with regard to perinatal and child health outcomes. To delineate the position of the ten participating municipalities, we present municipal and regional differences in the prevalence of perinatal mortality, perinatal morbidity, children living in deprived neighbourhoods, and children living in families on welfare. Methods: Data on all singleton births in the Netherlands between 2009 and 2014 were analysed for the prevalence of perinatal mortality and morbidity. In addition, national data on children living in deprived neighbourhoods and children living in families on welfare between 2009 and 2012 were analysed. The prevalence of these outcomes were calculated and ranked for 62 geographical areas, the 50 largest municipalities and the 12 provinces, to determine the position of the municipalities that participate in HP4All-2. Results: Considerable geographical differences were present for all four outcomes. The municipalities that participate in HP4All-2 are among the 25 municipalities with the highest prevalence of perinatal mortality, perinatal morbidity, children living in deprived neighbourhoods, or children in families on welfare. Conclusion: This study illustrates geographical differences in perinatal health and/or child welfare outcomes and demonstrates that the HP4All-2 program targets municipalities with a relative unfavourable position. By targeting these municipalities, the program is expected to contribute most to improving the care for young children and their mothers at risk, and hence to reducing their risks and health inequalities.

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Keywords Child health care, Child welfare, Deprived neighbourhoods, Interconception care, Maternity care, Perinatal health inequalities, Perinatal morbidity, Perinatal mortality, Public health, Risk assessment
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Journal BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Waelput, W, Sijpkens, M.K. (Meertien K.), Lagendijk, J, van Minde, M.R.C. (Minke R.C.), Raat, H, Ernst-Smelt, H.E. (Hiske E.), … Steegers, E.A.P. (2017). Geographical differences in perinatal health and child welfare in the Netherlands: Rationale for the healthy pregnancy 4 all-2 program. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 17(1). doi:10.1186/s12884-017-1425-2