VIHA launches new prenatal program
Expectant mothers have new public resources available to them.
VIHA launched its Right From The Start prenatal registration program last Friday. Currently, public health nurses generally meet new mothers after their babies are born. The new program offers women support, education and health promotion services from local public health nurses before they give birth.
For expectant parents on Gabriola, the local nurses would be in Nanaimo.
Erin O’Sullivan, perinatal lead for Child, Youth and Family Services for VIHA, said that since the birth rate is so low on Gabriola, they do not provide public health services, like prenatal classes or these new services, on the island.
Right From The Start registrants may also receive individual support services, depending on their need. Demographics, income, exposure to tobacco and how women are feeling emotionally are some of the areas looked at.
“Women define their need,” said Erin. “Public health is a support we’d like to offer [them].”
VIHA is encouraging pregnant women to register with Right From The Start within their first trimester. Registration is available online at www.viha.ca/children/pregnancy/prenatal_registration.htm or at any doctors office, VIHA Public Health Unit as well as the Hope Centre on Gabriola.
Registered mothers receive a copy of “Baby’s Best Chance,” a handbook on pregnancy and baby care, and information about prenatal and parenting education resources and support opportunities in their communities.