The Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Program addresses maternal risk behaviours and provides women with support during their pregnancy. It works with women while they are pregnant until they are effectively engaged with Maternal and Child Health services after birth (usually four to six weeks).
The program targets pregnant women who are unable to access
antenatal care services or who need extra support because they have greater
health risks as a result of factors including:
- socioeconomic status
- culturally and linguistically diverse background
- health behaviours
- mental health
- history of engagement with child protection services
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent
- distance from services.
The Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Program aims to reduce the burden of chronic disease and improve the health and wellbeing of mothers and babies. To achieve this, the program:
- works to improve access to antenatal, postnatal and other health and human services
- supports women during their pregnancy
- delivers health promotion messages that encourage healthy behaviours during and after pregnancy.
The Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Program is not a
clinical antenatal care service. Rather, it links women to existing services
early, provides community-based support beyond what current services provide, and
promotes continuity of care.
The program comprises the following services:
- outreach to pregnant women who may be difficult to engage, or who have complex needs
- community-based support to women, up to four to six weeks after birth
- help for women to access clinical antenatal care providers and maternal and child health nurses
- help for women to link up with health and human service providers as needed
- health information and education, especially about the impacts of drug and alcohol use, smoking, healthy eating, exercise and breastfeeding
- peer support from other pregnant women.
Rural and Regional Victoria
How women can access the program
Pregnant women can access the program by:
- referring themselves to the program
- being referred by a general practitioner, maternity
services, maternal and child health services or other local services (such as
mental health, drug and alcohol or housing services).
How to make a referral to the program
To make a referral to the program, contact a service provider from the Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies list below. The preferred method is to complete a SCTT referral form (from the Department of Health & Human Services Service Coordination Tool Templates). Community health services in other local government areas may also offer services to women who are pregnant. Check with the local community health centre.
Who delivers the program
The Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Program is delivered
through local community health services. Clinicians employed in the program come from many professional
backgrounds, such as midwifery, family support, social work, and maternal and child
These clinicians can effectively link women to the broader
range of services that operate through community health services, such as counselling, allied health
and dental services, and other visiting services.