Solutions for a Healthier Community
What happens when an expectant mother gets the prenatal care she needs?
Michigan's infant mortality rate continues to be higher than the national average. In 2007, 997 infants who were younger than 1 year old died. Reducing that statistic in Kent County is a priority. Spectrum Health's Mothers Offering Mothers Support (MOMS) program was created to help pregnant women, who may be at risk for poor birth outcomes, receive prenatal and postnatal care.
Since 1990, this innovative program has been providing home visits to the most vulnerable families in Kent County. The goal is to help women make good choices for themselves and their babies through encouragement and information.
The MOMS program is a state-certified, maternal-infant health program for Medicaid recipients. It matches pregnant women with registered nurses, counselors, nutritionists and community health workers. This interdisciplinary team helps women envision a better future for themselves and their families. Staff members work closely with clients, making home visits and telephone calls throughout their pregnancy and the baby's first year.
The program not only helps prevent preterm births, but also counsels women who may be suffering from depression. In addition, it supports mothers and encourages them to breastfeed their infants.
The MOMS program serves more than 400 mothers and 500 infants each year. In 2009, the MOMS program completed 8,700 home visits. From 1999 to 2009, it supported more than 4,600 pregnancies through outreach and education. Among the program's clients, the percentage of infants with very low birth weights has decreased. In a three-year period (from 2004 to 2006) it was 1 percent for all clients.
Emily Barry credits the birth of her beautiful, healthy little girl, Alivia, to the ongoing support she received from the MOMS program. She was introduced to a clinical case manager who encouraged Emily to plan for her future by setting short- and long-term goals, including receiving proper prenatal care and breastfeeding her new baby.
For more information about Spectrum Health's MOMS program, visit spectrum-health.org/moms or call 616.391.6135.