March 26, 2017
Baby On Board
Heritage Health helps educate young parents
By MARC STEWART
Teenage mothers are often woefully unprepared for the realities of having a baby. They lack critical knowledge about nutrition, safe sleep practices, vaccinations and infant development, says Dr. Nikki Odom, a Heritage Health pediatrician.
“Young mothers are overwhelmed and they don’t realize the enormity of the situation,” said Dr. Odom. “Often they’re coming from inconsistent and chaotic households. Pregnancy is a very frightening proposition. Thankfully, agencies like Heritage Health are here to help mothers better understand all that goes into caring for a newborn baby and what resources are available to them.
The regional provider will introduce shared medical appointments for teenage mothers this spring. “We are reaching out to expecting parents and those with young children to provide a safe, fun, non-judgmental space where important topics and issues about parenting can be taught and discussed,” said Dr. Odom. “We are going to be covering maternal and child nutrition, maternal mental health, infant and child development, safe sleep practices, questions about vaccines and the role of your baby's primary care provider, connection to community resources, etc.”
Heritage Health uses shared medical appointments to deliver important information to patients via a group setting. The healthcare provider offers a wide array of shared medical appointments, including chronic care management, emotional wellness, and aging gracefully.
Shared medical appointments for young mothers and young fathers will be offered free or almost free weeknights at Heritage Health’s main campus, 1090 W. Parkplace in Coeur d’Alene. “The costs are nominal, like $2,” said Dr. Odom. “We have scholarships available for young parents who can’t afford it. We believe this information is critical for parents to have.”