Westside Health collaborative reaches out to pregnant women

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

The new Westside Health Collaborative, a partnership between Iberville and West Baton Rouge Parishes and Donaldsonville, is inviting first-time expecting mothers to participate in the free Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program.  NFP is a program offered through the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, Bureau of Family Health. 

Capital Area Human Services (CAHS) runs the Nurse-Family Partnership program available to first-time parents who are Medicaid eligible and less than 28 weeks gestation.  Nurse-Family Partnership came to East Baton Rouge 12 years ago and expanded in 2008 into Iberville, Ascension, West Baton Rouge, Pointe Coupee, and East and West Feliciana.  

NFP uses best-practices to increase educational awareness, setting up families for long-term success.  Expecting moms are partnered with a registered nurse early in her pregnancy and receive ongoing nurse home visits. Registered nurses begin visiting clients as early in the pregnancy as possible, helping the mother-to-be and her family make informed choices for herself and her baby until the child turns two years old. Nurses educate the client on a wide range of issues that affect prenatal health, including smoking cessation, diet, labor and delivery, infant care, positive parenting, and how and when to access health care professionals.  

"We know through evidence-based studies that an educational health care home model works and results in healthier pregnancies," said CAHS Program Director, Jamie Roques, APRN, MPH.  “The NFP model has been studied and research demonstrates improved prenatal health, fewer childhood injuries, fewer subsequent unplanned pregnancies, increased intervals between births, increased maternal employment, and improved school readiness for the child.”

"While working with their nurse, many of the young women in the Nurse-Family Partnership program set goals for themselves for the first time.  We believe NFP serves as a stepping stone to overall success and healthier living," said Kawanda Briley, RN, MSN. "Research shows that nurses help the mother make sound choices about her education, workplace participation, partner relationships, and the timing of subsequent pregnancies that enable her to financially take better care of herself and her child. That, in turn, aids in providing independence and healthy living.” 

Women who qualify for the program can sign up or obtain additional information by calling 225-219-9520.