Mothers and Babies (MB) is a program that promotes healthy mood management by teaching pregnant women and new moms how to effectively respond to stress in their lives through increasing the frequency of thoughts and behaviors that lead to positive mood states. Designed as a perinatal depression prevention, the Mothers and Babies targets three specific risk factors: limited social support, lack of pleasant activities, and harmful thought patterns. Mothers and Babies offers a “toolkit” of approaches for women to observe their mood, note factors affecting their mood, and make changes in their daily lives to impact these areas. Based on principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), attachment theory, and psychoeducation, the Mothers and Babies Course is designed to be delivered by clinic- or community-based providers from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds, and can be delivered as a group intervention or as a one-on-one intervention in various settings where pregnant women access services (e.g. prenatal clinics, home visiting programs, WIC programs, County Health Departments, etc.).
MotherWoman promotes the resilience and empowerment of mothers and their communities by building community capacity and advocating for just policies through evidence based research and grassroots organizing. MotherWoman hosts support groups for postpartum women (in MA, CA and NY), provides training for healthcare and social service providers, supports communities in creating coalitions to address the issue of perinatal emotional complications and perinatal mood disorders on the community level, and works to raise awareness about social and economic justice issues and promote policies that positively impact mothers, children and families on the regional and national levels. The MotherWoman Support Group Model is replicable and has been successful with a broad diversity of postpartum mothers in a wide variety of settings. MotherWoman’s commitment to diversity and inclusion allows for diverse mothers to find common ground, inspiration and community with each other.
For 25 years, Healthy Start staff have been making mothers and babies a priority. Pregnant women are getting care earlier and fewer babies are dying. However, we now have a serious and growing problem with substance use and depression during pregnancy, newborns dependent on opioids and other substances, and significant differences in health conditions and treatment across populations. Together, we can strengthen the behavioral health of women and their families, and do more to address mental health and substance use in ways that respond to the needs of culturally diverse communities.
Healthy Start has always worked hard to screen and refer women and their families, but with challenges related to substance use and depression, we need new, more comprehensive, and more relevant strategies and solutions. Healthy Start programs have an opportunity to identify strategies and supports that address the needs of culturally diverse communities to prevent and treat life-threatening mental health and substance use disorders. As part of Healthy Start, you can be an important part of a new trend of fewer substance-exposed newborns, fewer pregnant women who use substances, and more women receiving much-needed mental health care during and after pregnancy.
Join us as we learn together about what can make it difficult for pregnant women and their families to be as healthy as possible, how you can help address obstacles and challenges that can mean unfair and unequal care for different populations, and about other considerations that can help you as you support children and families.
Presenters will actively engage participants throughout the webinar. They will also include current examples from culturally diverse populations, such as Tribal, Latinx, and African American communities to keep the discussion relevant to communities where Healthy Start staff and families live, work, and play.
Find webinar materials here:
Often referred to as “The Fourth Trimester,” the weeks after birth are a critical time for a woman and her infant, setting the stage for long-term health and well-being. This comprehensive toolkit, with an introduction by Dr. Haywood Brown, includes extensive resources on the key components of postpartum care, including support for new mothers, reproductive life planning, infant care, counseling for substance use, long-term weight management, and many more pertinent topics. It also features a sample postpartum checklist for women to complete.
Because one half of all pregnancy-related maternal deaths occur postpartum, the weeks following childbirth are a critical period for a woman and her infant. In addition, health issues that arise in pregnancy can persist and presage long-term medical problems. In this Committee Opinion, ACOG lays out a new vision for postpartum care, redefining it as an ongoing process beginning within the first 3 weeks postpartum and tailored to a woman’s needs. The document includes practical advice on postpartum care as well as useful charts including a Timeline for Postpartum Care, a listing of The Components of Postpartum Care, and a table identifying Members of the Postpartum Care Team.
This brief looks at common acceptability, availability, and accessibility barriers to mental and substance use disorder (behavioral health) treatment and services in rural communities and presents ways telehealth can help surmount some of these barriers. The term telehealth refers to using internet and communications technologies, such as videoconferencing, chat, and text messaging, to provide health information and treatments in real time.
Safe Homes, Safe Babies is a safety card for women that perinatal health care providers can distribute to patients. In addition to providing safety resources for women, this tool also functions as a prompt for perinatal health care providers by providing quick phrases to improve discussions with women about the impact of domestic violence on their parenting and children. The safety card outlines questions women may ask themselves about their relationships, birth control use and parenting, while offering supportive messages and referrals to national support services for help.
The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (NCSACW) is an initiative of the Department of Health and Human Services to improve family recovery, safety and stability by advancing practices and collaboration among agencies, organizations and courts working with families affected by substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders and child abuse or neglect.
Moms’ Mental Health Matters explains the signs of depression and anxiety around pregnancy, and lists treatment options to help reduce and/or eliminate symptoms. It also offers resources that women can use in addition to treatment.
Mental Health First Aid teaches people how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Its training gives the skills needed to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis.