Services for Pregnant Women

Policy Number: HS-FP 1304.40c / Effective Date: 9/5/13 / Relates to: CFR#1304.40c
Revision Date: 9/5/13 / Reference: 45 CFR 1304.40(f) / Reference: 45 CFR 1304.24(a)(1)(vi)
Reference: 45 CFR 1304.2 (b)(1)(iv) / Reference: 45 CFR 1304.23(e)(2)

SUBJECT: Services for pregnant women enrolled in Early Head Start programs

PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVE: ATCAA Early Head Start will provide referrals and assist pregnant women in accessing comprehensive prenatal and postpartum care immediately after enrollment in the program and as needed.


ATCAA Early Head Start staff will serve as advocates and liaisons between pregnant women and service providers by:

·  Educating pregnant and breast feeding women through the utilization of the Growing Great Kids curriculum, brochures, discussions and referrals to agencies such as WIC to help them gain an awareness of:

o  The importance of proper health and nutrition and how inadequate nutrition can lead to the delivery of low birth weight babies.

o  The effects of substance abuse on fetal development.

·  Encouraging expectant parents, fathers and mothers, to keep all prenatal appointments and to attend childbirth classes, while remaining sensitive to the cultural backgrounds of the parents.

·  Discussing the importance of sharing information with health care providers about genetic, environmental and other health risks.

·  Helping expectant parents to identify family and cultural networks that may provide support and assistance.

·  Identifying resources to help meet expectant parents’ needs, such as substance abuse treatment programs or obtaining baby equipment.

·  Developing relationships with community partners that assist pregnant women.

During enrollment, Early Head Start staff will be able to determine if pregnant women have access to health care providers and prenatal education.

If pregnant or breast feeding women do not have access to health care providers, staff will provide the resources and information the women need to obtain care.

Staff will also assist and/or provide mothers with information, education, resources and services that include, but are not limited to, the following:

·  Early and continuing risk assessments, including nutritional assessments, nutritional counseling and help with food assistance as needed.

·  Accessing medical and dental exams.

·  Substance abuse counseling.

·  Prenatal education about fetal development, labor, delivery, the benefits of breastfeeding, the risks associated with smoking and alcohol use, and postpartum recovery (including maternal depression).

·  Encouragement to keep appointments with health care providers.

·  Home visits and socializations.

Center-based staff must provide an area at the center that is available for mothers to use to breastfeed their children.

Early Head Start staff will address and meet the unique needs of teen parents enrolled in the program by:

·  Discussing and respecting the teen parents’ communication and confidentiality preferences in regards to the teens’ family members.

·  Working with teen parents to determine the level of involvement of other family members in planning and participating in ATCAA Early Head Start services.

·  Partnering with teen parents prior to the birth of their infants to clarify their roles, and expectations for the infants’ care.

·  Continuing to support bonding between teen mothers and their infants after giving birth while helping the new mothers to determine what type of relationships they want important extended family members to have with their babies in the future (including fathers as appropriate).

·  Supporting teen mothers by encouraging them to continue their education and communicating with the appropriate school staff about the teens’ educational needs.

Staff should utilize the family partnership process to ensure that required Early Head Start services for expectant mothers and fathers are individualized for each family, including transition plans from the pregnant women program to appropriate options that will provide care for their infants.