Moms-to-be earn baby gear following their prenatal care plans

March 1, 2018

Expectant moms earn points for learning how to take care of themselves and their babies through Stork's Nest, a decade-old behavior incentive program offered by St. Joseph's Women's Outpatient Center. As their delivery date nears, the women cash in the points for baby clothes and infant supplies.

A patient of St. Joseph's Women's Outpatient Center in Milwaukee browses baby items available in the Stork's Nest. Clinic patients who are pregnant earn points for following their prenatal plans, and can cash the points in for baby gear.

"It's a great way for our moms to stock up their nurseries," says Beth Hill-Karbowski, regional director of women and families for Ascension's Milwaukee metro area.

St. Joseph's Women's Outpatient Center, a multidisciplinary clinic on the Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare – St. Joseph Hospital campus in Milwaukee, is "taking care of the most vulnerable" patients in the Milwaukee metropolitan area, Hill-Karbowski says. The campus is located in "a very vulnerable zip code," where about 90 percent of patients are eligible for Medicaid. The outpatient center annually provides prenatal care to about 700 women, all of whom are eligible to earn Stork's Nest points.

Hill-Karbowski says women in the outpatient center's catchment area have a higher rate of preterm birth than the rest of the state. Caregivers aim to reduce the incidence of preterm births through patient education and by connecting the mothers-to-be with social service supports.

The Stork's Nest program provides incentives for expectant moms to keep prenatal appointments, attend educational classes taught by St. Joseph's staff, watch educational videos and get ultrasounds. Classes and videos cover such topics as healthy eating, labor and childbirth, postpartum depression, breastfeeding, safe sleep for infants, shaken baby syndrome and sudden infant death syndrome.

When a woman is 32 weeks pregnant or more, she can exchange her points for new baby clothes, hats, strollers, vibrating seats, diapers, wash sets — and other essential items. The goods are displayed in a space in the Women's Outpatient Center set up like a baby store. Women who deliver preterm can shop in the Stork's Nest store after they give birth, either during postpartum hospitalization or at another time that is convenient for them.

The March of Dimes and a Milwaukee-area sorority, Zeta Phi Beta, provide funds to stock the Stork's Nest shelves.

Hill-Karbowski says the Stork's Nest program is in line with the outpatient center's philosophy of caring for the whole person. "It takes into account where (patients) are in life and what they need. The Stork's Nest program is engaging, uplifting and fun, and that is why it fits so nicely with the mission of our clinic and our spirit of care."


Copyright © 2018 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.

Copyright © 2018 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.