Introducing the Nurse-Family Partnership

With the recent announcement of the addition of a Nurse-Family Partnership program, Healthier Moms and Babies has demonstrated its commitment to helping expectant mothers in Allen County give their babies the best start possible. To learn more about NFP and what it offers the community, we asked local pediatrician Dr. Tony GiaQuinta for his thoughts on what NFP offers.

The greatest benefit of NFP is the consistent, focused care these nurses provide to moms, enabling their success as parents and resulting in a thriving child. Knowing that every first-time mom has their own background and challenges, these nurses form a meaningful mentoring relationship, centered around home-visitation and identifying what needs these families need most. The best part of NFP, however, is that their efforts and methods don’t just “theoretically” get results.

Since the late 1970s, researchers have studied the impact of NFP, and found their interventions lead to improved prenatal health, fewer subsequent pregnancies, increased intervals between births, increased maternal employment, and improved school readiness. In whole, a healthier family, and a stronger community.

It’s important that expectant mothers know loving your child is the greatest gift you can give. Always remember that! But remember too that when faced with the many real obstacles of providing and caring for a family emerge, you need to feel comfortable asking for help. Your pediatrician expects to see you at least 7 times in your infant’s first year of life, they also want to know what struggles you face, because it’s definitely part of your child’s health!

One of the biggest benefits of NFP is that sense of community. Mothers aren’t facing these challenges alone. With this program, they have the help of passionate, motivated, loving nurses who work every day to help these first time moms thrive.

Nurse watching a mom play with her baby

Northeast Indiana, in particular, has a large need for a strong, community approach to raising our children. This is reflected accurately by our devastatingly high local infant mortality rate. Infant mortality is defined by the number of babies that don’t live past their first birthday out of 1000 births. The results from this past year are in, and they aren’t good. Allen County has two zip codes, 46805 and 46806 that have infant mortality rates of 11 and 15, respectively. The national average is close to 6. Our community should be very discouraged by this.

So how do we approach this complex problem? Well, there are many strategies, but targeting risk factors for infant mortality and offering effective education and resources, will undoubtedly have a meaningful impact. We know, for example, that unsafe sleep habits make up the majority of sudden unexpected infant deaths, or SUIDS, many of which could be prevented with appropriate identification and education.

NFP can help fill this knowledge gap, and save lives!

NewsKatie Pruitt