Programs that provide information and instruction concerning appropriate techniques for nursing an infant for expectant parents or new mothers.
A federally-funded program that helps improve the health of pregnant women, new mothers and their babies who face challenges such as poverty, teen pregnancy, social and geographic isolation, substance use or family violence. The program seeks to increase the number of babies born at a healthy weight, and to ensure culturally sensitive prenatal support for indigenous women and recent immigrants. Activities may include nutrition counselling, prenatal vitamins, food and food coupons, food preparation training, counselling in prenatal health and lifestyle, and education and support on breastfeeding, infant care and child development.
Programs that offer classes or other educational experiences which prepare prospective mothers and their birth partners emotionally and physically for the labour and birth process. Topics covered include anatomy and physiology of birth, relaxation and breathing techniques, different types of labours, birthing/delivery options and postpartum care. Also included are programs that prepare other members of the family (grandparents and siblings) for the arrival of a new family member.
Programs that provide facilities and/or necessary medical attention for women who are ready to give birth.
Programs that offer the services of doulas, women experienced in childbirth who are specially trained to provide continuous physical, emotional and informational support for pregnant women before, during and just after labour and childbirth. The doula helps in the development of a birth plan; provides an objective view of the progress of labour; helps the woman make adjustments if unexpected demands or complications arise; guides her in breathing techniques, positioning, massage and use of the bath, shower, birth ball, hot and cold packs and other comfort measures; communicates with her birth partner; and makes one or more postpartum visits to the family's home following birth to offer guidance and support during the early weeks of parenting. "Doula" is a Greek word for "women helping women".
Programs that utilize licensed midwives (health care professionals with specialized training in maternal and child health care and the management of labour and delivery) to provide health care services for mothers and infants during pregnancy and delivery and following birth.
Programs that provide follow-up medical care for women during the first six weeks following delivery to ensure that they are recovering normally from childbirth.
Programs staffed by nurses or other trained professionals or volunteers that visit the homes of first-time mothers during pregnancy and early infancy to help the women improve their personal health and development during the prenatal period and learn to care for the child following birth. The visits encourage the mothers to maintain good nutrition; and provide information regarding danger signs in pregnancy, preparation for labour and delivery, breastfeeding and other feeding options, baby supplies, basic infant care, newborn behaviours and child development. They help to ensure that infants and toddlers are nurtured, live in a safe environment in and around the home and receive proper health care. Included are programs that focus on low income individuals, pregnant teens, women with high risk pregnancies or other special populations as well as those that are more broadly available.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.