VNA programs help new moms
May 15, 2015
Motherhood can be joyful, demanding and — especially for new moms — challenging. Having help and support is critical, but it's not always easy to find. Living in isolated, rural areas, being far from family and/or having financial difficulties can make pregnancy and motherhood extremely overwhelming and put families at higher risk for health problems with potentially long-term consequences.
The Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association has a range of programs and resources to give moms and children a healthy start. The following programs provide women information and resources to be healthy in both pregnancy and motherhood and successfully care for their newborns and toddlers.
• VNA Community Health Centers: Women can get a pregnancy test and see a provider at Community Health Centers in Steamboat Springs or Craig on an income-based, sliding fee scale. If a woman is pregnant, clinic staff will connect her to OB providers, help her find insurance and connect her to VNA and community resources that will help ensure she has a healthy pregnancy. The Community Health Centers offer women's health services including birth control, breast exams, Pap tests and STD screenings, as well as primary care (on a sliding scale) for the whole family. To make an appointment at the Community Health Center in Craig, call 970-824-8233.
• Nurse-Family Partnership: This free voluntary program provides first-time moms regular home visits from specially trained nurses during pregnancy and through their child's second birthday. Nurse home visitors have a wealth of information and tools to ensure moms have a healthy pregnancy and childbirth and are prepared for early motherhood. They create personal connections with clients, supporting them emotionally and helping them make healthy choices related to nutrition and any tobacco, alcohol and drug use. Nurses also provide life-coaching and encourage economic self-sufficiency with plans for education, employment and any future pregnancies. Dads are encouraged to participate. Women must be first-time moms and financially qualify for the program. For more information, call 970-871-7686.
• New Arrivals: The initial weeks after bringing a new baby home can be very stressful. This program provides moms a free voluntary home visit from a nurse who will answer questions and concerns related to newborn care including breast feeding, sleep and crying patterns. Nurses can also do a general health assessment of the baby and mother, at the mother's request. The visit usually takes place within the first two weeks after a mom and baby come home from the hospital. All new mothers (first-time or repeat) can receive a New Arrivals home visit. For more information, call 970-824-8233.
• Women, Infants and Children (WIC): WIC provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support and supplemental foods to eligible pregnant women, new mothers and children five and younger. Families receive at least four nutrition education appointments with a WIC educator per year to help them improve their families' eating habits. Families who participate in the sessions receive WIC checks to buy wholesome foods including fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, eggs, cheese, whole grains, beans, canned fish and peanut butter. WIC educators also help new moms with questions and concerns related to their baby's crying and sleep patterns and behaviors. For more information or to see if your family qualifies, call 970-871-7653.
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• Baby and Me Tobacco Free: This program provides expectant moms who use tobacco or marijuana four free prenatal smoking cessation sessions. If the mom remains tobacco/marijuana free after the pregnancy, she will receive a monthly voucher worth $25 of free diapers at Walmart for the first year of the baby's life. The program is open to all pregnant women. For more information or to enroll, call 970-871-7653.
Tamera Manzanares is marketing coordinator at the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. She can be reached at email@example.com or 970-871-7642.