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Program begins to help expectant moms

pregnantDETROIT — Detroit’s leading health systems, the city of Detroit, Wayne State University and other key partners recently launched the Make Your Date campaign, a new initiative designed to help expectant mothers in Detroit deliver healthy full-term babies.

“Carrying her baby to full term is the most important thing a mother can do for the development of her child,” said Mayor Mike Duggan, May 15 at press conference announcing the new initiative. “The Make Your Date program is designed to make sure every baby born in Detroit is given a chance at a healthy start in life.”

In Detroit, 18 percent of babies are born prematurely, nearly six percent higher than the state average. Studies show low birth weight accounts for almost 50 percent of the city’s infant mortality rate of 14/1000, which is twice the national average.

The Make Your Date campaign will provide a consistent approach among local healthcare providers in how they deliver support and care to expectant mothers.

The program builds on existing programs, such as the Perinatology Research Branch (PRB) of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development/National Institutes of Health at Wayne State University (WSU) and the Detroit Medical Center (DMC), the Women and Infants Network (WIN) led by Henry Ford Health System, and the Infant Mortality Project at St. John Hospital and Medical Center.

Patients can sign up by visiting or calling 313.577.1000, regardless of where they may already be obtaining their prenatal care.

An expectant mother who signs onto Make Your Date will have access to a range of support and evidence-based medical services being made available at no additional cost through the DMC, St. John Providence and Henry Ford Health System, including:

– Connecting future moms to prenatal care providers

– Preterm birth prevention education classes

– Regular ultrasounds for all pregnant women, which can identify the potential need for progesterone, a treatment that can reduce the risk of preterm birth by 45 percent in women with a short cervix. To support this part of the plan, Meridian Health Plan is offering progesterone on an immediate basis, waiving the need for pre-authorization.

– Group prenatal care for expecting mothers, which already has been implemented by St. John Providence and the Detroit Medical Center and has been shown to reduce preterm birth among African American women by more than 40 percent.

To lead this new initiative, Mayor Duggan selected Sonia Hassan, M.D., associate dean for maternal, perinatal and child health for Wayne State University School of Medicine, along with Detroit Public Health Director Vernice Anthony.

Meridian Health Plan Chief Executive Officer David Cotton, M.D., was also asked to play a key role in this program. Dr. Hassan pointed out “being born full term is critical to long-term health. The goal of this campaign is to reduce the rate of preterm birth by helping all expectant moms in Detroit receive the best care possible.”

“This program is bringing together civic leaders with a shared purpose through cross-sector collaboration and maximization of our combined resources to get our Detroit moms-to-be the care they need for their greatest chance at a healthy, full-term birth,” Hassan added.

Make Your Date is a not-for-profit organization.

For more information, visit, or call 313.577.1000.

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