One of the “four values” of the Gujral Community Fund’s giving is focused on access to prenatal care. Appropriate prenatal care and nutrition contribute to a healthy start for children. Studies have shown a correlation between mothers receiving prenatal care and the outcomes of better birth-weights and lower premature births. While it cannot be stated that prenatal care is the one specific cause of healthier pregnancies and babies, those women who obtain prenatal care are more likely to have better pregnancy and delivery outcomes – all reducing the cost of care for providers, medical centers, insurers, and families.
Some women find it difficult to afford prenatal care or are intimidated by traditional medical settings. Women who are younger or those living at or near poverty often lack resources and support during pregnancy. A new trend in prenatal care is emerging where of women attend group prenatal care appointments together. Called Centering Pregnancy, this group approach brings expectant mothers together to support each other through the process and encourage healthy choices during pregnancy.
“My doctor and nurse would lead the group on various topics, but it wasn’t like a class: it was a discussion, a group of pregnant women together on a journey with health care providers investing in our well-being, our health, the health of our babies, and most importantly giving us a safe environment to learn the facts that would get us to our goals.” (Centering Pregnancy Website)
Group prenatal care might not be the right approach for everyone. Women dealing with extreme life circumstances such as homelessness and poverty need additional resources. The Homeless Prenatal Project (HPP) in San Francisco offers free care and advice to mothers-to-be who could not otherwise afford it. HPP recognizes that there is a window of opportunity during pregnancy and motherhood where mothers realize the desire to improve their lives for their children and recognize that they need assistance to do so.
Breaking the cycle of poverty requires resources, devoted caseworkers, and most importantly, the commitment and determination on the part of the individual, which is often difficult to harness when the person is dealing with so many competing issues. At HPP, mothers are empowered to believe in their own abilities and recognize their own ability to transform their lives and the lives of their families. Many of the staff at HPP are former assistance recipients, so the program is uniquely focused on the needs of those it serves.
Whether in a traditional care setting, a group care setting, or through a charitable organization such as HPP, women often find that prenatal care leads to healthier babies. The Gujral Community Fund strives to improve the lives of San Francisco families by contributing its time and resources to organizations with the infrastructure and ability to make a positive impact in our community. We’re proud to support the work of the Homeless Prenatal Project in its mission to end the cycle of poverty through the window of opportunity the motherhood provides.