When pregnant women were trusted with $81 a month in prenatal benefits, no strings attached, their babies' physical health did better, say Manitoba researchers, who would like similar income supplements to be offered across Canada.
The Healthy Baby Prenatal Benefit offers support to families with a net household income of less than $32,000, on a sliding scale.
In Thursday's online issue of the journal Pediatrics, researchers say babies born to low-income women who received the benefit in 2003 to 2010 did better in terms of low birth weight and prematurity than a similar group born to low-income women who didn't.
"It actually adds to a growing body of evidence that if we raise the incomes, if we lift people out of poverty, the outcomes for infants and children are better than if we leave them in poverty," study author Marni Brownell, a professor in the department of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba, said in an interview.
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