Women who have proper prenatal care give birth to healthier babies. But for women who have low incomes, or who are underinsured or uninsured, receiving these prenatal services can be difficult, especially if they appear too costly.
As a result, some women are at risk for delivering low birth weight babies. These babies often suffer from physical, emotional and developmental problems throughout their lives.
Making a difference
Healthy Beginnings has had a significant impact on improving the health of newborns. The program has:
- Assisted numerous families with prenatal care, delivery services, education, support and referral services.
- Improved the first trimester prenatal care among low-income women.
- Consistently decreased the incidence of low birth weight babies among low-income women, compared to state averages.
- Connected families with other community resources and agencies for a continuation of care throughout their lives.
The Healthy Beginnings program:
- Assists in finding early prenatal care for low income, underinsured and uninsured clients.
- Finds financial resources for midwife/physician and hospital costs of pregnancy and birth.
- Locates resources for other personal and family needs.
- Provides education and support during pregnancy,
childbirth and parenting, for moms and dads.
Women receive the care they need through a variety of health care providers including:
- Private doctors or certified nurse-midwives
- Financial counselors
- Public health nurses
- Medical social workers/care coordinators
- Childbirth instructors
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
The dangers of low birth weight
Low birth weight — less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces — is the largest contributor to infant mortality and illness and accounts for 10 percent of all health care costs among children. These newborns are also at risk for a number of physical and emotional challenges throughout their lives including:
- Increased risk of blood pressure, heart disease, and non-insulin dependent diabetes upon reaching adulthood
- Higher likelihood of experiencing health and developmental problems
- Lower performance on psychological and chronic health conditions
- Frequent utilization of special education services
- Delayed entrance into kindergarten
- Increased likelihood to repeat a grade in school