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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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7/11/2013 10:54:00 AM
Expecting Great Things: Nurse family program partners with first-time moms
Karina meets with Kathy, her Nurse Family Partnership nurse.
Karina meets with Kathy, her Nurse Family Partnership nurse.

Strong families are the building blocks of a strong society. It is critical that parents have the tools they need to provide their children with a stable, nurturing environment. This begins with a healthy pregnancy.

When Karina Montero of Cottonwood learned she was pregnant, she was both happy and apprehensive. She was thrilled when she saw the results of her first ultrasound and began to feel her baby move, but despite her excitement, Karina was still nervous about being a first-time mom. Other than her boyfriend Gustavo, she had no family members nearby.

When she visited the Women Infants and Children (WIC) program office, Karina was told about the Nurse Family Partnership (NFP), a free program of Yavapai County Community Health Services funded by First Things First. The program partners with women and their families who are expecting their first child. Through the NFP, pregnant women receive weekly home visits from a nurse, who provides them with individualized support, pregnancy and parenting education, and refers them to any community resources they may need. Families can stay enrolled in the program until their child turns two. Karina enthusiastically decided to enroll.

Now, Karina receives visits each week from Kathy, her NFP nurse. During their visits, the two talk a lot about having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, and Kathy also provides Karina with information on things like mental health, stress, relationships, and even how to cook on a budget- everything to help her and Gustavo prepare to be the best parents they can be. "There's no subject we don't talk about," said Kathy.

Karina is eager to learn everything she can, and asks Kathy a lot of questions. "This program is like school, like my own personal prenatal and parenting class," said Karina. Even between visits, Karina can call Kathy with any questions she may have. "I never feel alone," said Karina. "I may not have my mom here, but I have Kathy."

Kathy also helps Karina plan both short and long-term goals for her family. In the future, Karina plans to attend college to become either a teacher or a nurse.

Karina is due to give birth to a baby boy on July 16. "Because of Kathy's help, I'm not scared, and I'm ready to give birth," Karina said. "Because of the Nurse Family Partnership, I'm more ready for what's coming. I'm ready to apply the skills I've learned to be a great mom to my son."

The Nurse Family Partnership is a program available to first-time pregnant women in Yavapai County, and is funded by First Things First. For more information on the Nurse Family Partnership or to enroll, please call (928)-634-6851 in the Verde Valley area and (928)-442-5478 in the Quad-city area. To learn more about First Things First and what it does to promote strong families, please visit ReadyAZKids.com.

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