Our programming aims to empower expectant families who are at higher risk for poor birth and postpartum outcomes to get the critical information and access to resources they need. Surveys from our most current prenatal education programs indicate that all participants increased their knowledge by attending our workshop, with 94% of participants reporting a significant increase in knowledge of priority information on maternal and infant health.
HMHBGA provides community-based prenatal education and resources to expectant mothers across Georgia.
Through our comprehensive curriculum, we provide critical information regarding breastfeeding, perinatal HIV prevention, oral health, SIDS prevention, maternal mental health, accessing and locating birth support professionals, family planning, and extant public services including the Text4Baby application, Newborn Screening Program (DPH), Babies Can’t Wait, and the HMHBGA Maternal and Child Health Referral Line. Importantly, our instructors must have demonstrated cultural competency in serving women of color and young mothers.
In collaboration with partners, we make these classes available to expectant women who are potentially high-risk, members of vulnerable populations, or face other barriers in accessing critical care and resources during pregnancy. Our comprehensive curriculum covers priority information on evidence-based maternal and infant health improvement measures to address gaps in information received during the prenatal period.
Our curriculum is based on a variety of evidenced-based practices from DPH, CDC, NIH and professional provider organizations, such as ACOG. We are continuously seeking feedback from partners in review of our prenatal educational programs to assure we are implementing the most current best practices. We prioritize adaptation of evidence-based programs that have demonstrated effectiveness in low-income communities and in working with diverse groups to encourage positive behaviors around perinatal health.
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Why is Prenatal Education Important?
- According to the Listening to Mothers III: Pregnancy and Birth (2013) report, 55% of mothers find childbirth education classes to be trustworthy; 20% find them to be completely trustworthy, and 35% find them to be very trustworthy. Thus, childbirth education classes are the second most trusted source of pregnancy and childbirth information, after maternity care providers.
- Based on a pilot study conducted by HMHBGA in 2017 only 10-18% of women were actually assessing prenatal education classes.
- Prenatal education has the ability to educate women on vital signs and symptoms, can encourage them to seek medical attention, and can increase their likelihood of following medical advice.
- HMHBGA released an evaluation report in 2018 after an extensive review of prenatal education curriculums and referral practices across the State and found that more than half of the providers surveyed did not provide prenatal education in-office and referred to outside organizations (primarily their delivering hospitals) for prenatal education. In addition, the the report also highlighted that many priority topics such as pregnancy Medicaid, HIV/STI transmission, and oral healthcare during pregnancy were largely missing from prenatal education curriculums across Georgia.
- “Poor pregnancy outcomes, including low birth weight, preterm births and infant mortality, are associated with late or no prenatal care, unplanned pregnancy, cigarette smoking, alcohol and other drug use, being HIV positive, short interim pregnancy spacing, chronic diseases, obesity, maternal age, poor nutrition and low socioeconomic status .” (https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/prevention_agenda/healthy_mothers/birth_outcomes)