Calhoun County Message
about Pregnancy Health Education
Despite clinical advances, birth outcomes are worse in Calhoun County than in other counties in Michigan. (Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) is the number of deaths of children less than one year of age per 1,000 live births. Calhoun County’s IMR for 2013 was 6.5 compared to the State’s rate of 7.0.) Many babies are born prematurely (11.2% in 2013) and/or have low birth weight (7.7%). Calhoun County has the goal of developing an integrated, coordinated model of care for women of childbearing age – with an emphasis on the pregnancy and birth experience. We are committed to developing a model of care that will improve birth outcomes while providing women with the pregnancy and delivery experience they want and need.
Through focus groups, Turning Points presentations, and surveys, women in Calhoun County have expressed their desire to be healthier, to know and understand their bodies better (especially during pregnancy), and to get connected to available services and resources. Pregnant women want to know what to expect during pregnancy and delivery and they need guidance and health information in a way that works for them.
To better coordinate care for all pregnant women of Calhoun County, regardless of socioeconomic status, consistent health information is provided during and after pregnancy. We are doing that in three ways – through Baby Basics, Centering Pregnancy, and Born To Be.
Baby Basics (offered at all OB offices in Calhoun County, including Grace Health OB/GYN)
Baby Basics is a program that helps pregnant moms read, understand, and act upon pregnancy information. With Baby Basics, mothers receive a comprehensive pregnancy guide filled with stories and photographs that she (and the baby's dad) can relate to. Baby Basics: Your Month by Month Guide To A Healthy Pregnancy is comprehensive and easy to read. The book covers many topics – from applying for Medicaid to the stages of labor. It is an enjoyable book that parents want to read. Baby Basics is written to a 3rd grade reading level, with more detailed sections written to a 5th grade reading level. The book is culturally diverse – written for and enjoyed by many moms across the country.
Baby Basics: THE PLANNER is an interactive counterpart to the book, and an invaluable tool to help new moms become totally involved in their prenatal care. It includes appointment planners, discussion topics, and questions to ask prenatal care provider, resource center phone numbers, case management record pages – and a whole lot more!
Centering Pregnancy (offered at Grace Health OB/GYN)
Centering Pregnancy is prenatal care that includes an individual health check up with additional time and attention in a group setting. A group of women with similar due dates meet together with their health care provider. Centering Pregnancy groups provide a dynamic atmosphere for learning and sharing that is impossible to create in a one-to-one encounter. Hearing other women share concerns which mirror their own helps the woman to normalize the whole experience of pregnancy. Groups are empowering as they provide support to the members and also increase individual motivation to learn and change. Centering Pregnancy has proven to improve maternal and infant health. Specifically, this model has increased birth weight and gestational age of mothers that deliver preterm, and improved patient satisfaction.
Participants of Centering Pregnancy receive a notebook that covers a range of topics every pregnant woman is interested in from the first changes to labor and birth. This resource helps women and their partners explore a wide range of topics including nutrition, exercise, stress management, breastfeeding, infant care and more. Self-assessment sheets and goals make it easy for women to track their progress.
Born To Be
Born To Be is Calhoun County’s healthy babies initiative. It was developed to improve public perception and to ensure that all organizations serving pregnant women in Calhoun County are providing the same information in a consistent way. Born To Be is intended to provide consistent messaging and resources focused on healthy pregnancies, healthy moms, healthy babies, and healthy families. The Born To Be website (www.borntobehealthy.org) is the place to go for information on Calhoun County’s maternal and infant health programs, services, and resources available. While our target population is pregnant women, their support person(s), and families, and any organization that serves them, anyone can access the website. Organizations can reference our communities’ messages about various maternal and infant health topics, see what materials and resources are available for their use/distribution to clients, and where to go or who to contact for specific resources. This ensures that all organizations serving pregnant women and families in Calhoun County are providing the same information and using the same resources.
A Coordinated Approach to Pregnancy Health Education
The Baby Basics program is offered to all OB offices in Calhoun County and Centering Pregnancy is offered at Grace Health OB/GYN. The goal is for all pregnant women receiving care in Calhoun County to participate in Baby Basics or Centering Pregnancy and to have access to the Born To Be website.
A coordinated approach will help us to achieve the following goals:
Provide comprehensive and easy-to-read health information that provides guidance during pregnancy and serves as a catalyst for learning and family literacy.
Help put everyone on the same page – physician/provider and staff, patient and their families/support, home visiting programs, and other health and human service agencies.
Allow everyone to reference the information, with consistent messages about prenatal health and parenting.
Enable (service and healthcare) providers to integrate health literacy and cultural competency tools into daily interactions with clients that will improve patient communication and compliance.
Empower parents to effectively navigate the healthcare system and become better advocates for themselves and their families.
Assist in getting key messages to target population at least seven times prior to delivery. Research shows that (on average) it takes seven times of hearing a new message for someone to believe it AND consider changing their behavior.
To learn more about Baby Basic Book and informational page, click here.
To learn more about the Zika virus and pregnancy click here.