Innovations in Maternal Health

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Category: News

November 18, 2020

Maternal Health Crisis

There’s a maternal health crisis in Texas. The nurses of Any Baby Can’s Nurse-Family Partnership program see it every day in an especially vulnerable population: first-time pregnant mothers who are below the poverty level.

Preeclampsia is the most common preventable cause of maternal mortality. In Texas, preeclampsia occurs in 5-8% of pregnant mothers, however our Nurse-Family Partnership program reports that up to 14% of its high-risk, low-income clients are affected in one year. Pregnant women are also affected by mental health issues with 10% to 20% clinically diagnosed with post-partum depression. If not treated early, depression can affect the long-term health and well-being of their families.

Any Baby Can is excited to announce a new grant from the UnitedHealth Foundation to implement two innovative practices through our Nurse-Family Partnership program. Our collective goal is to reduce maternal mortality due to preeclampsia and support women suffering from mental health issues.

"The need is great for expanded maternal care services in our community and we hope mothers appreciate — now more than ever — that they can turn to our Nurse-Family Partnership program for health advice and services that address the mental, physical and psychological health of the whole family," said Veronda Durden, chief executive officer of Any Baby Can.

Reducing Risks from Preeclampsia

Furthermore, with increased funding and capacity, our nurses will teach pregnant mothers self-monitoring practices and how to use a blood pressure gauge. As part of routine visits, clients already have their blood pressure taken more regularly than typical obstetric visits. Now, women who have a high blood pressure reading or begin to trend upward will be given a blood pressure monitor and encouraged to track daily. Nurses also educate women about prenatal and post-natal danger signs (e.g., headaches, nausea, visual disturbance). This information can save lives!

"My in-home nurse saved my life by having me check my blood pressure and having me speak up to get medicine to bring my blood pressure down to normal so I could care for my newborn." – Nurse-Family Partnership client, 2019.

Improving Maternal Mental Health

To better address maternal mental health for new moms, Any Baby Can will increase training for our in-home nurses, and start specialized counseling support groups for women and their partner.

These new support groups will focus on health and supportive family relationships during the transition to parenthood, which can be stressful. The groups will also address mental health strategies to cope with changes before and after the baby is born.

In addition, Any Baby Can will create a Crisis Risk Assessment protocol to assist with mental health screenings. Nurses will complete prenatal depression and anxiety screenings, as well as an adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) screening of trauma. In addition, each mother will receive a post-partum screening by phone, hospital or home visit to assess mental health needs.

We already offer maternal mental health specialists with our No Estás Solo program for clients enrolled in our home-visitation programs. With this grant, we will provide additional home-based counselors in additional counties to assist mothers by conducting psycho-social assessments and providing counseling to reduce crisis levels, teach coping skills and provide ongoing support.

Goals for Pregnant Mothers

We do this all in support of our client’s goals in maternal health and beyond, including:

  • Increase positive prenatal health practices and understanding of pediatric health and development.
  • Develop coping skills and support systems that reduce mental health crises and promote long-term wellbeing.
  • Increase mother’s ability to provide sensitive and competent infant care.
  • Implement life course strategies so mothers can identify and accomplish their goals, including planning for subsequent pregnancies, educational attainment and employment.
  • Improve family environments in which they live and work, and avoid dangerous situations and behavior.
  • Find supportive relationships and services that benefit mothers and their families.

Any Baby Can is committed to supporting moms in healthy pregnancies, births and post-partum periods by offering home-based perinatal, early childhood and counseling services. Because when mom can, baby can too!


Nurse-Family Partnership

Any Baby Can partners with first-time moms to bring answers, guidance and confidence to this stage in life.

Mission and Impact

Our whole-family approach creates stability and addresses physical, developmental and emotional well-being.

Prioritize Healthy Families

To truly prioritize health, it will require individuals, nonprofits, health care systems and many other players to work together.


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