Head Start Launches Pregnancy Support Servicesposted 8/8/22 -- LCCAA Head Start will offer Pregnancy Support Services to the community this year with a newly hired Community Health Worker.
“Both maternal and infant mortality rates are extremely high in the United States,” said Melissa Carroll, who will run the program.
In partnership with Lorain County Public Health, Carroll will focus on supporting African American mothers and reducing the startling rate of infant mortality. In Lorain County, 13 out of every 1,000 Black or African American infants die in their first year of life. The rate for white infants is 4.5.
Carroll’s role is to improve those outcomes by supporting women during and after their pregnancies. One goal is to reduce premature births by making sure women have access to quality health care and avoid high blood pressure and diabetes.
“I’ve walked with women throughout their pregnancies, attended their births and offered post-partum care,” said Carroll, who has a background as a doula and childbirth educator. “I bridge between women and their health care providers. Many women don’t know what questions to ask and they get a lot of information they don’t understand.”
The Pregnancy Support Services will be available to everyone in the county with no income qualifications for participants. Women can reach out to Carroll at any stage of their pregnancy and regardless of how many children they already have.
Carroll will work under the Head Start management team, but women do not have to be in Head Start or Early Head Start to call upon her.
“We’re expanding our footprint by serving all families,” said Assistant Head Start Director Stefanie Drew. “What’s wonderful is her having such great experience and knowledge base and working with this diverse community. Everyone she will serve will come in at a different time in their pregnancy with different needs.”