Impact of Funding for Preventative Women’s Health

Nurse with mom and baby

Category: News

December 19, 2023

Summary of Maternal Health Outcomes from Three-Year Grant

In October 2019, Any Baby Can received a grant from the United Health Foundation. The goal was to expand at-home women’s health services through our Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) program. Read more about the project’s initial goals 

Over the last three years, we expanded our services to Bastrop and Hays County, and we have seen great results for the moms and babies in our area thanks to the $2 million in funding. 

Our initial grant goal was to serve 490 first-time moms, but we served 1,062! We planned to impact 100 people through maternal mental health groups, and we were able to offer this additional support to 171 women 

This growth was important because in 2019, we didn't know what challenges we would face in the coming years. With the grant, we adapted to the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic and provided critical health services to families.

All First-Time Pregnant Moms are High Risk

Two grant goals were to reduce maternal mortality and support women facing mental health issues. 

90% of pregnancy-related deaths in Texas are preventable (Texas Department of State Health Services Joint Biennial Report, 2022). Preeclampsia, or high blood pressure in pregnancy, is the most common preventable cause of death in pregnant women. First-time mothers may not know how their bodies will react during pregnancy or if preeclampsia will affect them. But with prevention and early intervention, we can save lives.

“The United Health Foundation and Any Baby Can share the goal of improving the health of at-risk pregnant women and ensuring children get the right start in life,” said Dr. Janice Huckaby, chief medical officer of Maternal-Child Health at Optum, a UnitedHealth Group company.

With the funding, nurses were able to provide blood pressure cuffs and teach 627 first-time pregnant moms how to use them. In addition to this education, our nurses empowered women to advocate for themselves during pregnancy.

All First-Time Pregnant Moms are High Risk

Mental health is also crucial for women's overall health and the health of their children and families.  

We needed to better address mental health needs of new and pregnant moms. Any Baby Can increased training for our nurses and launched specialized support groups for women and partners. Any Baby Can is one of only a few providers of Spanish-speaking or bilingual maternal mental health groups in the Austin area.

“If a mom is depressed, it’s harder to connect with their babies, attach with their babies. Mental health is critical. By being able to address concerns early on, and help intervene, has made a difference for the families we serve,” says Cheryl Williams, Any Baby Can’s Senior Director of Nurse-Family Partnership.

We screen 100% of women in NFP for mental health concerns multiple times during pregnancy, post-partum and the first two years of their child’s life.  

This allows us to catch any changes in mood or behavior that may indicate more severe mental health concerns. Our nurses have a unique perspective on the stressors that impact women because of our home-visitation model. They're able to work directly with clients to identify, anticipate and address concerns. 

The World Health Organization has conducted research showing the benefits and cost-effectiveness of mental health interventions. These practices not only save lives but also benefit the whole community.

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United Health Foundation Grant Impact Summary

In conclusion, through the United Health Foundation grant, Any Baby Can has been able to meaningfully impact the lives of more than a thousand women and their babies in the last three years. We have seen positive results with birth outcomes and preeclampsia, and improved overall maternal and child health. 

Any Baby Can’s goals for this grant were to improve:  

1) pregnancy outcomes by engaging women in proven preventive health practices,  

2) child health and development by modeling and working with parents to provide infant care,  

3) mental health and well-being by providing mental health screenings and counseling support, and  

4) family economic self-sufficiency by guiding parents to develop a vision for their own future, plan future pregnancies, continue their education, and find meaningful work opportunities.

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For the babies who were born with low birthweight: 

  • 72 low birthweight babies born out of 621 total babies born (12%)  
  • 13 sets of twins  
  • 26 (36%) moms were preeclamptic  
  • 62 (86%) moms were women of color


We match first-time moms with a nurse and preventative tools to guide them in pregnancy and parenthood. 

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