Expectant mothers paid to attend prenatal checkups?
They will if one Tennessee lawmaker gets his way.
Republican Sen. Brian Kelsey has proposed paying pregnant women $50 per doctor visit as a way to curtail infant mortality. He hopes to see the program implemented nationwide, but proposes starting a pilot program in Memphis first.
Shelby County, where Memphis is located, led Tennessee in infant deaths in 2009 with 187.
Other lawmakers are uncertain if the program would have the intended effect, or if it would come across as patronizing, even offensive, to women.
Kelsey says he finds the number of infant deaths in the Memphis area "tragic," and wants to be "part of the solution."
Dr. Ramasubbareddy Dhanireddy, director of the Newborn Center at the Regional Medical Center in Memphis, said infants are at a lower risk of prematurity and low birth weight when their mothers consistently attend checkups during pregnancy.