Iowans Thrive Blog
Featuring stories, research, and news on Iowa's movement to respond to ACEs
Preventing ACEs in future generations starts at the VERY beginning, when the brain begins to develop in the womb.
Many Iowa parents face significant stressors, especially from environmental factors and historical trauma. That stress can be passed on to their children as they are born and disrupt healthy development.
An updated white paper from the Iowa ACEs 360 Coalition explores how trauma is passed down to future generations, how parents are experiencing greater stress, and what we can do to respond through prenatal strategies.
Here are a few highlights:
Iowa mothers are experiencing stress.
Most Iowa mothers report stress from moving or having a close family member in the hospital. But many mothers also report significant stressors that mirror the adversity identified in The ACE Study. Iowa's Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) found that 11% of Iowa mothers say someone very close to them had a problem with drinking and drugs, 18% state that someone very close to them died within twelve months before the baby was born, and 27% report sometimes, often, or always feeling depressed since giving birth.
Social conditions increase levels of stress for specific populations
PRAMS data shows disparities in the stressors expecting moms report. Compared with 67% of the total population, 80% of African American mothers, nearly 69% of Hispanic mothers, and 83% of mothers receiving public health insurance reported one or more stressor.
16% of mothers who are living below 185% of the federal poverty level are facing the additional stress of not having enough money to buy food and 14% of these mothers are worried about being able to pay bills. These mothers are experiencing extreme levels of stress that can impact their children, and on top of that, they may not have access to enough nutrients to be able to feed themselves and their growing baby.
Community support across two generations can prevent ACEs in children
More can be done to identify the specific stressors mothers are experiencing while receiving prenatal care and connect mothers to resources that can help reduce those stressors. Successful models in pediatric and family support fields involve referring families who identify areas of stress to a coordinator who can connect the family to the resources they need in the community.
Read more in the white paper.