Maternal Child Health
The Maternal Child Health Program at Denver Public Health is dedicated to meeting the ongoing and changing needs of all mothers, fathers, infants and children in Denver.
What are we doing?
It is important to start planning today for a healthy baby someday
Getting pregnant may seem hard, but if you are having sex and not using birth control, it is very likely you will get pregnant.
To protect any possible baby:
- Take folic acid for up to one year before you get pregnant, as it can help to prevent birth defects.
- Eat a healthy diet and be at a healthy weight.
- Don't drink, use drugs or tobacco.
- Manage stress when you can. (Take deep breaths, walk, enjoy a hot bath).
Ask Your Doctor/Healthcare Provider:
- About genetic screening and counseling based on mom and dad's family history.
- A safe, effective and easy birth control method that you can stop when you are ready to get pregnant.
Services at Denver Public Health and Denver Health:
There are many resources in the Denver metro area for moms to be:
Denver ResidentsFirst baby?: A nurse can help first time, low-income moms get what you need for your baby. Call the Nurse Family Partnership at (303) 602-8986.
Contact Denver Women's Care for information about Denver WIC and Group Prenatal Care.
Non-Denver ResidentsFirst baby?: A nurse can help first time, low-income moms get what you need for your baby. Call Invest in Kids at (303) 839-1808 ext. 101.
Pregnancy-related depression and anxiety (PRD) is the most common problem of pregnancy, affecting about one in seven women in the United States. PRD can occur at any time during pregnancy and/or within the first year of having a baby. It may also happen after a pregnancy loss or adopting a baby. PRD is different from the "baby blues", which tend to go away on their own within two weeks after the loss or birth of a child. PRD is a serious condition that affects a woman's physical and mental health, and does not usually get better on its own. However, PRD is treatable with self-care, social support from friends and family, counseling and/or medication.
PRD and ParentingParenting doesn't always turn out the way we expected, and PRD symptoms can make parenting feel even harder. PRD symptoms may get in the way of feeling close to your baby the way you imagined. Having ideas of things to do with your baby can help. The following links provide tips for interacting with your baby. Trying some of these activities may help you feel better, and can help with your baby's development:
Screening/Checking for PRD
We are improving women's mental health by encouraging health care providers to screen women for PRD during prenatal doctor visits (before giving birth), postpartum doctor visits (after giving birth), and at well child visits. Several different tools can be used to check for PRD, including the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale and the Patient Health Questionnaire. Screening helps to start the conversation about PRD, identify symptoms early and discuss options to treat PRD symptoms when needed. These results are confidential, just like the rest of your medical record, so try to be honest with your doctor.
Many resources are available to help women with PRD. Please reach out if you or someone you love could use help.
- Colorado Crisis Services
- Mental Health Center of Denver Right Start Program
- Mental Health Center of Denver Adult Recovery Services
- Colorado Access Care Management Services
- Postpartum Support International
- Healthy Expectations Perinatal Mental Health Program
In partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver Public Health is participating in a public awareness campaign to encourage women and their support systems to recognize symptoms of PRD and get help. All materials include information about Postpartum Support International, a free and confidential service that helps women over the phone.
Ask Your Doctor/Health Care Provider:
- If they screen/check for PRD regularly during prenatal (before giving birth) or postpartum (after giving birth) doctor visits.
- How they treat PRD
- About local resources for PRD
- How PRD may impact your baby, and resources to support a healthy relationship with your baby.
- About any PRD symptoms you may be experiencing. Some examples include:
- Feeling sad or depressed
- Having difficulty bonding with your baby
- Having upsetting thoughts
One of the best ways to determine the health and well-being of our community is to guarantee the health of babies in their first year of life. Many factors influence this, including the health of the mother, the father and the overall well-being of the community in which they live.
We are focused on saving babies because everyone deserves a first birthday!
Safe Sleep for Babies
Where your baby sleeps is something you will think about many times a day.
In the United States, about 3,500 babies die each year due to unsafe sleep. In Denver, babies born to black women are three times more likely to die before their first birthday than infants born to white (non-Hispanic) women. Infants born to Hispanic women are two times more likely to die before their first birthday than infants born to white (non-Hispanic) women.
Learn more about making sure all babies are able to celebrate their first birthday, and see tips on keeping your baby safe while they are sleeping:
- Baby Box Company
- More Black Birthday's Campaign
- Safe Sleep for Baby Informational Flyer. (Sueno Seguro Para El Bebe.)
- Check out the Dad's on Duty video below:
Preventing Premature Birth:
Every year, about 400 babies are born too early (before 37 weeks) in Colorado. Babies that are born before 37 weeks make up about 38% of all infant deaths. To help your baby not be born too early:
- Reduce stress.
- Plan your pregnancies (allow 18 months between births).
- Ask your doctor about the 17p hormone.
- View the Colorado Recommendations for Reducing Preterm Birth.
Ask Your Doctor/Health Care Provider:
- About always sharing the room, but never sharing the bed, couch or chair for sleep with the baby.
- About always putting your baby to sleep on his/her back.
- The option to have group prenatal care so you can be supported with other moms.
- If you are at risk for preterm/premature birth.
You could be at risk for preterm/premature birth if:
- You were a premature baby.
- You have had a premature baby before.
- You have a "short" cervix (the top of the birth canal).
Families of babies, children and youth (up to age 21) with special health care needs benefit from services designed to help every child meet their potential.
Learn more about Colorado's Health Care Program for Children and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs, or call Denver County's Health Care Program (HCP) at (303) 602-6765.
Ask your Doctor/Healthcare Provider:
- What you can do to help your child develop and meet their potential.
- About the milestones your child should reach.