North Central Health District

COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS

Nurse-Family Partnership Helps First-Time Houston County Mothers Succeed

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Each year, 380,000 babies are born to first-time mothers living in poverty. Lack of income, insurance and other resources can lead to insufficient prenatal and perinatal care, which can have negative effects on the child’s birth, growth and development. Houston County Health Department is fighting poor pregnancy outcomes through its Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program.

NFP is a voluntary program for Houston County women who are having their first child. The program is available at no cost to first-time mothers that are less than 28 weeks pregnant, meet the program’s income requirements and are residents of Houston County. NFP uses an evidence-based home visiting model which arranges for home visits from registered nurses to families enrolled in the program. The program has been associated with improvements in maternal health, child health and economic security.

“Our program is a great resource for mothers that may not have a support system in their lives,” said Tina Hix, Nurse-Family Partnership Nurse Supervisor at Houston County Health Department. “The Nurse-Family Partnership program’s goal is to ensure healthy moms and healthy babies throughout our community.”

Once an expectant mother has enrolled in the program, an NFP nurse will visit throughout the pregnancy and birth and will continue to visit until the child reaches age two. During these visits, the nurse will confirm that the mother is having a healthy pregnancy. Once the child is born, the nurse will provide health checks for both the mother and child. Should health concerns be identified, the nurse will refer the family to a healthcare provider, so the mother and child can get the recommended treatment.

Visiting nurses will also discuss a variety of topics with first-time mothers including how to make the home a safe place for a child, how to build a support network and how to access healthcare. In addition, these conversations may include referrals to child care services, job training and skills development, continuing education and other available services that will help the mother provide for her child throughout growth and development.

The goal of the program is not to do a new mother’s tasks for her, but to educate her on how she can make life better for herself and her child.

“Parenthood is a challenge for every first-time mother, however, low-income parents face additional challenges,” said Hix. “We’re here to help moms by providing them with knowledge, skills and resources to be a great parent to a healthy child. With these tools, mothers can take their health into their own hands while providing a great start to the child’s life.”

To learn more about the Nurse Family Partnership program at Houston County Health Department, including qualifications for free services, visit NCHD52.org/Nurse-Family-Partnership or call 478-218-0142. For more information on the national program, visit nursefamilypartnership.org.

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