Introduction: Social vulnerability is known to be related to ill health. When a pregnant woman is socially vulnerable, the ill health does not only affect herself, but also the health and development of her (unborn) child. To optimise care for highly vulnerable pregnant women, in Rotterdam, a holistic programme was developed in close collaboration between the university hospital, the local government and a non-profit organisation. This programme aims to organise social and medical care from pregnancy until the second birthday of the child, while targeting adult and child issues simultaneously. In 2014, a pilot in the municipality of Rotterdam demonstrated the significance of this holistic approach for highly vulnerable pregnant women. In the Mothers of Rotterdam' study, we aim to prospectively evaluate the effectiveness of the holistic approach, referred to as targeted social care.
Methods and analysis: The Mothers of Rotterdam study is a pragmatic prospective cohort study planning to include 1200 highly vulnerable pregnant women for the comparison between targeted social care and care as usual. Effectiveness will be compared on the following outcomes: (1) child development (does the child show adaptive development at year 1?) and (2) maternal mental health (is maternal distress reduced at the end of the social care programme?). Propensity scores will be used to correct for baseline differences between both social care programmes.
Ethics and dissemination: The prospective cohort study was approved by the Erasmus Medical Centre Ethics Committee (ref. no. MEC-2016-012) and the first results of the study are expected to be available in the second half of 2019 through publication in peer-reviewed international journals.

Trial registration number NTR6271; Pre-results.

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BMJ Open
Department of Gynaecology & Obstetrics

Van Der Hulst, M., de Groot, M., de Graaf, H., Kok, R., Prinzie, P., Burdorf, A., … Steegers, E. (2018). Targeted social care for highly vulnerable pregnant women: Protocol of the Mothers of Rotterdam cohort study. BMJ Open, 8(3). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-020199