Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) Public Health is enhancing public health services to support healthy pregnancies for vulnerable women, giving new moms and babies their best chance at living healthy lives.
The service features a confidential toll-free phone number at 1-855-550-2229, for women to talk to a local public health nurse who can answer questions and offer services based on their needs.
Public Health services focus on maternal and infant nutrition, emotional health, healthy lifestyle, such as tobacco, alcohol and substance use issues, safety, immunizations and baby care. Nurses may also refer pregnant women to prenatal classes or other community programs.
“Some pregnant women don’t have the knowledge or experience of interacting with the health care system,” said Joanne Wooldridge, regional leader, early child development, who led the implementation of the new service. “By making the call to the Prenatal Line, expectant moms will be linked to the health services they need for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.”
VCH offers several other programs to support at-risk women during pregnancy including Healthiest Babies Possible in Vancouver and Richmond, and youth parenting programs, like the Healthy Choices in Pregnancy program on the North Shore.
“From helping a woman alter her diet to manage low iron to giving a woman options to escape an abusive relationship, these are the diverse problems our nurses are helping these young women work through,” said Jen Leigh, nurse coordinator. “This one call these women make has the potential to positively impact the rest of their lives and that of their baby.”
Pregnant women who do not have any risk factors will be encouraged to obtain their copy of Babies Best Chance and Pregnancy Passport from their maternity care provider or local health unit. And, once any mother has had their baby and goes home from the hospital, a public health nurse will contact the family within 24 to 48 hours, and provides additional support for as long as it is required.
Details about the complete range of pregnancy services VCH offers can be found on-line at www.vch.ca/pregnancy.