ANDERSON — Madison County is one of 20 high-risk counties for infant mortality where the state will be rolling out its new OB Navigator program.
The program is scheduled to arrive in Grant, Delaware, Madison and Henry counties in March and seeks to connect more families with home visiting programs.
It connects programs like Goodwill’s Nurse-Family Partnership that has been in Madison County since 2015. They have a team of eight nurses currently working with 70 families in the county.
New mom Laketta Booker credits the program with building her confidence as she learned about how to care for her newborn.
“You just learn so much before you have your baby, I felt so prepared. I feel like I can do anything now,” Booker said.
The program is open to first-time mothers less than 28 weeks pregnant and who qualify for Medicaid.
Each mother is paired with a nurse who will visit their home once a week for the first four weeks and then every other week until the baby is born.
Visits are weekly for the first six weeks after birth and then every other week until the child turns 2 years old.
“Three main goals are for the mom to have a healthy pregnancy, for the child to be developing appropriately and to improve the self efficacy of the family,” said Lynn Baldwin, Nurse-Family Partnership director for Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana.
Reducing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome by teaching safe sleep principles is part of the program.
For Booker, that education extended beyond herself to members of her family who will help her care for her daughter.
“If we can any way reduce that (infant mortality), even if it’s just by two, that’s two lives, I mean that’s huge. So it’s very important that we’re able to do this in this county where we have such a high rate of infant mortality,” said nurse Ketta Mason who was paired with Booker.