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NC Department of Health and Human Services
N.C. DPH: Women's and Children's Health Section
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Women's Health Branch


The Women's Health Branch develops and funds programs and services that protect the health and well-being of women during and beyond their child-bearing years. This includes programs for before, during and after delivery of their baby, and for the infants as well. The Branch develops medical guidance for health care providers and offers technical assistance, consultation and training for staff who provide health services to women in the areas of nutrition, nursing, social work, education and training. These programs and services improve the overall health status of women, increase planned pregnancies, reduce infant sickness and death, and strengthen families and communities. Contact your local health department for more information about availability of these services.

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 Baby Love Program

Baby Love (Maternal Support Services) is North Carolina's Medicaid for pregnant women program. This program is designed to ensure that pregnant women have access to prenatal care and other services during pregnancy. Pregnancy Care Managers provide care management to low income pregnant women statewide who are at risk for poor birth outcomes. They help women to have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies by working in collaboration with the woman's prenatal care provider to support her clinical care plan, and by providing information and helping families find the resources they need. This service is available to eligible low income pregnant and postpartum women through their local health department external link.

 Family Planning and Reproductive Health Services

Family Planning and Reproductive Health Services are a wide range of preventive care services, critical to women's reproductive and sexual health. This service is available to all women regardless of income on a sliding fee scale, through their local health department.

 Health and Behavior Intervention

This program empowers women and their families to address complex lifestyle issues that are likely to affect the health of the mother and her baby.  This service is offered in some health departments to all women regardless of income on a sliding fee scale. Contact your local health department for more information about availability.

 Healthy Beginnings

Healthy Beginnings is North Carolina’s minority infant mortality reduction program. Utilizing a request for applications (RFA) process, resources are provided to community and faith-based organizations along with local health departments to implement programs and partner with communities of color. Projects promote reproductive life planning, healthy weight, folic acid consumption, tobacco cessation, breastfeeding, safe sleep and well child care through individual care plans and group activities. Projects foster cooperation among community-based groups, health care providers, businesses, churches, and schools with strong roots in minority communities. Contact the Healthy Beginnings program at (919) 707-5700 for more information about program availability in your area.

 High-Risk Maternity Clinics

This program provides funding for the state’s network of High Risk Maternity Clinics to assure that women with high risk conditions, such as diabetes, get the specialized care and support services they need. Local health departments and physicians refer pregnant women with a medically indicated high risk condition to the closest of the 11 funded High Risk Maternity Clinics in the state.

 Lead and Pregnancy Initiative

Research findings suggest that prenatal lead exposure can adversely affect maternal and child health across a wide range of maternal exposure levels. In an effort to address this, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published “Guidelines for the Identification and Management of Lead Poisoning in Pregnant and Lactating Women.” To implement these guidelines, resources for clinicians and health educators include:

It is important to note that all maternal blood lead samples must be sent to a private lab for analysis, not the State Laboratory for Public Health.

Questions may be directed toward Amy MacDonald (919-966-2463), or Maria Valentin-Welch (919-707-5689).

 Maternal Health Program

The Maternal Health Program provides resources to local health department prenatal clinics to make sure that all pregnant women in the state have access to early and continuous prenatal care. This service is available to all women regardless of income on a sliding fee scale.

 Medical Nutrition Therapy for Pregnant and Postpartum Women

This program is designed to provide intensive nutrition intervention for pregnant women and those who have recently delivered a baby. Medical Nutrition Therapy is important for those mothers with chronic diseases and nutrition-related problems, such as diabetes. This service is available by referral from local health department maternity clinics.

 North Carolina Baby Love Plus Initiative

The NC Baby Love Plus Initiative is supported by federal Healthy Start-Disparities in Perinatal Health funds from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)-Maternal Child Health Bureau. The aim of this program is to improve birth outcomes and the health of women of childbearing age (15-44 years) through the strengthening of perinatal systems of care, promoting quality services, promoting family resilience, and building community capacity to address perinatal health disparities. Services are offered in urban and rural counties across the state where perinatal health disparities are persistently high.

Baby Love Plus program services include outreach, care coordination for women during the interconceptional period, fatherhood involvement, perinatal depression screening and referral, and health education and training. Need more information? Contact the Baby Love Plus program (919) 707-5700 about program availability in your area.

 Sickle Cell Syndrome Program

The Sickle Cell Syndrome Program promotes the health and well-being of persons with sickle cell disease and other blood disorders by providing them with genetic counseling, psychological and social support, medical referral and specialty care services. The disease prevention program also has a strong commitment to disease prevention through community education and the promotion of sickle cell trait testing. Contact the Sickle Cell Program at (919) 707-5700 for more information.

 Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Grief Counseling

SIDS counselors help families after the loss of a baby due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), providing information, grief counseling, and resource/referral services. The program seeks to reduce SIDS through public awareness and education focusing on risk reduction methods and safe sleep practices. SIDS Grief Counseling is available through your local health department.

 Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives

Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives (TPPI) funds communities across North Carolina to implement programs that prevent teen pregnancy and support teen parents. Visit the TPPI website or contact TPPI via email or (919) 707-5700 for more information.

 Voluntary Sterilization Services

This program provides special funds to support, on a limited basis, voluntary sterilization services for low-income men and women through local family planning programs. Local health departments have the set of criteria they use to determine eligibility for this program.

 Women's Health & Tobacco Use Program

The purpose of this program is to reduce infant illness and death by helping women of childbearing age, including pregnant women, to stop tobacco use and to assist them in reducing their family's exposure to tobacco smoke. Contact your local health department to learn what programs are being offered in your area.