Preparing for motherhood isn’t easy on anyone. It’s harder still for young women without means and without support.
A March of Dimes program aims to help by training San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) nurses and other community health professionals working with lower-income mothers-to-be and new moms.
Several HHSA public health nurses were among 40 local health care providers who attended the two-day “Becoming a Mom/Comenzando bien” training. Others were from HHSA community clinic partners and private health care practices in San Diego County.
The information learned will help public health nurses when they visit the new mothers. Their goal is to help the moms have the healthiest babies possible.
“We visit with expecting and new mothers once or twice a month, depending on the client’s needs,” said Tori Parker, RN. “We develop a relationship with them and they trust us.”
The nurses, part of HHSA’s Maternal, Child and Family Health Services, visit with the mothers from pre-natal stages until the baby is 18 months old.
“We make lots of referrals for services and provide education about immunizations,” said public health nurse Megan Kettman. “We help make sure they attend their obstetrician visits.”
There’s also a lot of preventative care shared with the mothers.
“There are a lot of teen moms who don’t have a lot of the knowledge they need,” said Parker. “But first-time moms are very open and glad to have the support.”
This is the second time the training has been offered in San Diego County.
“There’s a mix of RNs to people from clinics of all sizes and even some from early head start programs attending,” said Fernanda Crivici, the March of Dimes associate director of program services for California. “The goal of the training is to get them educated and learn new information to take back to their patients and clients.”
The topics covered include prenatal care, eating healthy, things to avoid during pregnancy, labor and birth, caring for your baby and postpartum care, among others.
“We have great support from the County,” said Crivici. “They know how important it is for moms to have access to education.”
To contact the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency, visit their web site here: http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/hhsa/index.html