Community HealthNet Health Centers (CHN), March of Dimes and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield have partnered up to sponsor an initiative called “Baby & Me Tobacco Free,” an incentive-driven program aiming to help pregnant women quit smoking before, during and after pregnancy. CHN received a $10,000 grant from March of Dimes that allowed the clinic to introduce the program to the Northwest Indiana community.
The program offers $25 vouchers for diapers each month for up to a year to any mother who quits smoking prior to delivery and remains smoke free postpartum.
Dr. Janet Seabrook, Chief Executive Officer of CHN, explained how smoking during pregnancy can affect the health of a newborn child.
“We know that the more cigarettes that a mother smokes during her pregnancy, the greater the chances the unborn child will develop lung problems, birth defects, an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and other health issues,” Dr. Seabrook explained. “When a pregnant mother stops smoking, it is the most preventable cause of pre-term births and low birth-weight babies.”
As a result of CHN OB Clinic and outside referrals, more than 60 smoking mothers have been enrolled into the program. CHN has a Community Health Worker and a Clinical Case Manager that offer participating smoking mothers additional services that can assist during their pregnancy.
Many of the mothers participate in CHN’s Centering Pregnancy program. The program is a prenatal support group where pregnant mothers, who have a similar gestational term, are grouped together to receive pregnancy information ranging from good health practices to postpartum awareness.
Darling D. Pleasant, Senior Program Manager of CHN stated, “By targeting women who are smoking, we are trying to reduce the chances of babies being born pre-term or being born with low birth-weight. By doing this, we are increasing the chances of mothers birthing healthy babies. We offer incentives to women to assist in their ability to quit smoking and offer other services that assist mothers during their pregnancy.”
“During the pregnancy, many mothers will quit smoking, but will start up again after the baby is born. With the Tobacco Free program, the pregnant mother comes to CHN once a month and blows into a little tube to test if they have nicotine in their system. If the mother has not smoked, then she can get a $25 incentive for diapers. It’s also a way to keep babies from being exposed to secondhand smoke.”
Pamela R. Wade, Community Health Worker of CHN stated, “March of Dimes has given us an opportunity to use a wonderful tool such as Baby and Me Tobacco Free. This program enables CHN to encourage and support smoking mothers in their journey to living a smoke free life for themselves and their children.”
Currently, mothers can redeem the diaper vouchers at any CVS Pharmacy or Wal-Mart locations and the program is offered at all of CHN’s five locations.
Community HealthNet Health Centers (CHN) is a 501c3 not-for-profit, Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) committed to providing quality, accessible and affordable healthcare. With five locations throughout Lake County, in Gary, Hammond, and Merrillville, the healthcare center strives to service the medical needs of all individuals and families regardless of their ability to pay. To learn more about CHN, its programs and services, visit chn-indiana.org. Find CHN on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, and Pinterest.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthrough. Find out how you can help prevent premature birth and birth defects by joining March for Babies at marchforbabies.org. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org. Find them on Facebook and Twitter.