GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) — When Dina Archila Cerna found out she was pregnant, she said she had so much fear about having her first child that she hid her pregnancy from her own mother – the entire time she was pregnant.
Living in southern Delaware as an immigrant, she was 18 hours away from her closest relatives. She was going to become a mother for the first time, and her partner’s family wasn’t around, either. She was feeling alone, Archila Cerna said. But then she met Kristen Dricken, a nurse who works with the home visiting program at the statewide organization Children and Families First.
The Delaware Division of Public Health offers multiple free home visit programs for people throughout the state, and some of those programs are run by the organization Children and Families First. In the program through Children and Families First, nurses start working with new moms before they reach 28 weeks of their pregnancy, and they usually stay with that same family until the child turns 2 years old.
While it’s called the “home visit” program, nurses and families can meet wherever the mother feels comfortable – whether that’s in her home, a library or even a school or restaurant. A typical visit usually consists of health assessments for the mom and baby – things like measurements and blood pressure readings – and an educational piece where the mom can learn about topics like breastfeeding or introducing solid foods, Dricken said.
Before the nurse leaves, they set goals for the next visit.
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