Baby and Me Tobacco Free is a smoking cessation program created to reduce the burden of tobacco use on the pregnant and post-partum populations. Women who quit smoking are less likely to have premature and low-birth weight babies. Maintaining smoking cessation after the baby is born extends the positive health outcomes for women and their families by reducing the damaging effects of secondhand smoke. This results in healthier mothers, healthier babies, and an outstanding return on investment.
How the program works is pregnant women that meet the criteria for the program are referred by their physician, OB, or other social service entity to Healthy Beginnings. Our specialized counselor makes an appointment to do an intake session and four other cessation-counseling sessions, support, and carbon monoxide (CO) monitoring.
After the birth of the baby, the mother returns monthly to continue CO monitoring and, if proven to be smoke-free, receives a $25 monthly voucher for diapers for up to 12 months postpartum.
2016 was the first year for Healthy Beginnings to implement this program. During the first year, we enrolled and worked with 41 women. Only 4 did not meet the criteria any longer which discontinues their participation. Also within 2016, we had 11 births where the clients began receiving vouchers.
As you have probably heard, there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in St. Joseph County, Indiana. There are a number of other cases across the state. At this point, Elkhart County does not have a confirmed COVID-19 case. We expect that we will see cases very soon and will report that once we have that information.