Milwaukee, Wisconsin – The March Of Dimes, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and the Milwaukee Center for Independence, Inc. (MCFI) will cut the ribbon for healthier babies today at the grand opening of a new prenatal program for pregnant women and teens served through the SmartBaby program at the Milwaukee Center for Independence, Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Building, Main Campus, 2020 West Wells Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Called Stork’s Nest®, the project is designed to increase the number of pregnant women who begin prenatal care in the first trimester, and continue regular prenatal visits until their babies are born. “Too many babies are born too small and too soon,” said Cheri Cooks, Chair of the Kappa Beta Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta, Inc. “Stork’s Nest projects around Milwaukee provide incentives and encouragement for women to keep prenatal care appointments, a critical factor for helping babies get a healthy start in life. This new Stork’s Nest project at the Milwaukee Center for Independence will provide much needed services to a group of women who often do not receive adequate prenatal care.”
The Stork’s Nest project at MCFI provides basic needs items such as baby blankets, baby supplies and infant clothing to pregnant women enrolled in MCFI’s SmartBaby program. Women earn points toward these incentive items by keeping their prenatal care appointments, by attending prenatal education sessions, and through a variety of other healthy pregnancy activities.
In 2009, about 1 in 27 infants was born to a woman receiving late or no prenatal care in Milwaukee County. Young teens, low-income women, and African-American women are at particularly high risk for getting late or little prenatal care, and thus may not benefit from the full range of medical and social services available. “Good prenatal care is critically important for every pregnant woman. Treating problems early is the key to preventing prematurity, low birthweight, and other serious disorders,” says Maureen Kartheiser, March of Dimes Wisconsin Chapter State Director of Programs, Advocacy, and Govt Affairs. “Stork’s Nest provides the incentives for women to get the care they need.”
Although this Stork’s Nest is new to the Milwaukee Center for Independence, the program is part of a rich local and national collaborative initiative of the March of Dimes and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and has been in existence for four decades. In Milwaukee alone, there are six Stork’s Nests operating at the following locations: Sixteenth Street Community Health Center, West Allis Health Department, Wheaton Franciscan St. Joseph Hospital Women’s Center, Wheaton Franciscan Health Care Family Care Center, and Aurora Sinai Hospital. There are currently 250 active Stork’s Nest programs in the United States. The program is closely tied to the March of Dimes’ mission of preventing birth defects, prematurity, and infant mortality. It is also in keeping with the sorority’s pledge to contribute to the health and welfare of families, children and youth.
For more information on the SmartBaby and Stork’s Nest at the Milwaukee Center for Independence, call (414) 937-2020 or visit www.mcfi.net.