Help for Low-Income Moms To Be

First time moms have a lot to think about, and a lot of extra responsibilities when the baby comes home. Some moms have serious concerns, like how they're going to pay for their child's doctor's visits and make sure they're raising them in a healthy environment. Now, there's a program that ensures low-income Heartland moms and babies get off to a healthy start. It's called the Building Blocks Program, and it's at Southeast Home Health. It gives women a chance to get one on one help from a nurse while they're pregnant and for two years after their children are born.

The program helps people like Tasha Ebert and her son Cliffy. Cliffy is almost two years old. Weighing in at 23 pounds, he's a healthy, happy boy, and 18-year-old Tasha Ebert's first born. Tasha says, "Being a first mom, I really didn't know anything. I really didn't know what to expect."

That's why nurse Sheila Beussink goes to Tasha's home in Marble Hill. She's giving mom an invaluable education. Sheila says, "We educate them about their pregnancy, what to expect, things about nutrition. Then we follow them through their second birthday, tracking developmental tasks and their growth, just educating moms." The goal is to make sure both baby and mom are healthy. "Our goal us to reduce the incidence of smoking in mothers during their pregnancy, improving their nutritional skills. Most of the time, I do see improvements in those areas," Sheila says.

Tasha is a good example. Since Cliffy's birth, she graduated from high school, got a job, and got married, things that Tasha says have made her life a lot easier. It's something that Sheila Beussink sees happen a lot, in part due to the ongoing attention the moms get. Sheila says, "A part of it just trust in the relationship. I carry a beeper, I'm available to the girls 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Tasha was referred to the Building Blocks Program through the Division of Family Services. To qualify for the program, a woman has to meet all the Missouri Medicaid Guidelines.