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Addressing Maternal Health Will Make a Healthier NC

By Cheryl Parquet | November 13, 2018 | Community Health, Health Conditions

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As a practicing pediatrician, Dr. Patrick Conway knows what it takes to keep kids healthy. And that starts with the health of mothers and babies.

“When it comes to maternal and newborn health, knowledge is a powerful and lifesaving tool,” says Dr. Conway. “There has to be an increase in access to prenatal resources and postnatal support. That’s an important step toward improving the health of North Carolina’s families.”

Research shows that improper care for mothers – before and after the baby is born – is linked to multiple physical, mental, and emotional problems for both moms and children.[1]

That’s why Blue Cross NC is investing $1.7 million in these local organizations:

[button link=”” type=”icon” color=”lightblue”] Read More – Blue Cross NC Invests $1.7 Million in Maternal and Infant Health Initiatives[/button]

These groups share our goal of educating and supporting new moms before, during, and after a pregnancy. Together, we’re helping North Carolina mothers and their children get the healthy future they deserve. 

Family Connects International

Bringing Nursing Care to NC Homes

The Family Connects model is an evidence-based nurse home visiting model offered at no cost to families with newborns. Their goal is to connect families to early childhood resources in order to improve mothers’ and newborns’ health and to prevent the neglect and abuse that can lead to emergency care.

Registered Nurses first determine a family’s need. They also provide support and share community resources where families can get additional help. As of May 2018, Family Connect completed more than 28,197 home visits in North Carolina. Many of these homes are in Durham – just like Blue Cross NC’s headquarters.

These visits are making a big difference for those involved with Family Connects:

  • Mothers used 34% less infant emergency medical care
  • Families saw a decrease in child maltreatment cases by 39% for children five and under[2]

Family Connects plans to use the money from Blue Cross NC to support locations in Durham, Forsyth, and Guilford counties. They also want to expand their services into rural parts of the state.

UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health – Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute  

Raising the Bar at NC Hospitals

The Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute works to promote safe breastfeeding and education for new moms.

They will use the Blue Cross NC investment to help 61 rural and underserved hospitals become “Baby-Friendly.”

This title is a major accomplishment in itself:

  • To become “Baby-Friendly,” hospitals must follow a detailed process to improve infant feeding training and practices.
  • The process can cost a hospital hundreds of thousands of dollars. For many providers, especially those in rural areas, this is unaffordable.

Nurse-Family Partnership

Pairing First-Time Mothers with Specialized Care

Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) is improving maternal and newborn health outcomes. They do this by pairing a highly-skilled nurse with first-time moms living below the poverty line. Through its network of 14 partners, NFP currently serves 25 counties in North Carolina.

Providing high-quality care and education to families of newborns likely to grow up in poverty, NFP’s programs help break the cycle. In turn, this can increase the chances of long-term positive health impacts for moms and their children. 

Funds will support the expansion of NFP’s nurse home visiting programs into rural North Carolina. Increasing the NFP service area will improve access to care for mothers and infants most at risk for poor health outcomes.

We’re excited to join forces with these great NC organizations. Together, we positively impact the health and well-being of mothers and infants. This is just one more way we’re reaching our goal of helping to make North Carolina a healthier place to live.

[1]What is prenatal care and why is it important?” January 2017. Accessed October 2018.

[2] Family Connects Internal Data.