Community-based interventions for improving maternal health and for reducing maternal health inequalities in high-income countries: a systematic map of research

Global Health. 2015 Jul 1:10:63. doi: 10.1186/s12992-014-0063-y.


Background: This review is part of a European Commission project, MASCOT, aimed at reducing maternal and child health inequalities. The purpose was to identify and describe the literature on community-based interventions on maternal health in high-income countries (HIC) and conceptually map the literature according to country focus, topics addressed, nature of the intervention and the intervention provider, and interventions designed to address inequalities in maternal health.

Methods: The research protocol for this review was based on a low-income country (LMIC) systematic review protocol within the MASCOT Project. We searched PubMED and CINAHL databases for literature published between January 2000 and April 2013. OECD countries were used to determine the HIC and different terms were used to refer to community based interventions, defined as those "delivered in community settings or any activities occurring outside of health facilities".

Results: 119 publications were selected for inclusion in this mapping study. 95 (80%) were Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) and 24 (20%) were systematic reviews (SRs). We categorised the study topics according to the main interventions covered: breastfeeding assistance and promotion, preventing and treating post-natal depression, interventions to support and build capacity around parenting and child care, antenatal interventions preparing women for birth, postnatal planning of future births and control trials around changing maternal behaviours. The home was used as the most common setting to implement these interventions and health professionals accounted for the largest group of intervention providers.

Conclusions: This review maps and brings knowledge on the type of studies and topics being addressed in community based interventions around maternal health in HICs. It opens the opportunity for further studies on interventions' effectiveness and knowledge transfer to LMICs settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding
  • Child
  • Child Care / supply & distribution
  • Community Networks / statistics & numerical data*
  • Depression, Postpartum / therapy
  • Developed Countries*
  • Female
  • Healthcare Disparities*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Health / standards*
  • Prenatal Education