Pregnant Women Facing Housing Insecurity Receive Prenatal Education

By Ashley McNatt

The program, “Motherhood together: A Journey in Love,” was put on by faculty and students from the UAMS colleges of Public Health and Nursing.

Becoming a Mom

Program graduate, Staci Burt.

“We knew there was a need for a program like this due to the high rate of women facing housing insecurity who give birth at UAMS,” said program director Keneshia Bryant-Moore, Ph.D., RN, associate professor in the UAMS College of Public Health.

There are up to 30 housing insecure newborn babies discharged each month at UAMS. This includes parents who may struggle to pay housing costs, move often, are homeless or live in overcrowded housing.

“These babies are at a greater risk for poor health outcomes, such as low birth weight and being admitted to the NICU, often due to their mothers not receiving adequate pre-natal care and social support” said Bryant-Moore.

Funded by a contract through the Natural Wonders Program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the program is comprised of nine sessions, each two hours long, and takes place at the UAMS 12th Street Health &Wellness Center.

Sessions provided the women with a safe and comfortable environment to talk about their pregnancy and ask questions. Participants were connected to UAMS and community services, and received education about pregnancy, caring for themselves and their baby.

Motherhood Together

Program participants and faculty.

Each participant received supplies such as blankets, baby lotion and body wash, Pack ‘n Plays, baby wipes, backpacks and bottles. Upon completion of the program, participants also received car seats for their babies.

The program was modeled after the March of Dimes “Becoming a Mom” prenatal education curriculum, which is based on helping pregnant women in a group setting learn about having a healthy pregnancy and baby.

“To date, 15 College of Public Health and College of Nursing students have been trained in the Becoming a Mom curriculum,” said Bryant-Moore. “Doing this will allow us to sustain the program for future moms facing housing insecurity.”

Other partners include the Arkansas Chapter of Quilts for Kids, March of Dimes, and the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Center.