Women's Health Branch: Services
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.
Family Planning and Reproductive Health Services are a wide range of preventive care services, critical to reproductive and sexual health. This service is available to all women, men and adolescents regardless of income on a sliding fee scale, through their local health department.
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 is North Carolina’s minority infant mortality reduction program. Program goals include improving birth outcomes among minority women, reducing minority infant morbidity and mortality, and supporting families and communities. This program serves women during and beyond pregnancy and their children up to two years after delivery. Utilizing a request for applications (RFA) process, eligible agencies are funded to implement programs that provide care coordination services to pregnant and interconception women that include conducting assessments and screenings, providing education and support, and coordinating referrals to community resources. Contact the Healthy Beginnings program at (919) 707-5700 for more information about program availability in your area.
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 department providers refer pregnant women with a medically indicated high risk condition to the closest of the 10 funded High Risk Maternity Clinics in the state.
The Improving Community Outcomes for Maternal and Child Health (ICO4MCH) initiative addresses three aims: (1) improve birth outcomes, (2) reduce infant mortality, and (3) improve the health status of children ages birth to five utilizing a collective impact framework with a health equity lens.
The ICO4MCH initiative currently provides funding to five lead local health departments (which totals 14 health departments) in FY20. The local health departments will implement one evidence-based strategy in each of the three aims (reducing infant mortality, improving birth outcomes, and improving the health status of children ages birth to five). The evidence-based strategies to be implemented include: using a Reproductive Justice framework to improve the utilization of Reproductive Life Planning (RLP) and access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), Ten Steps for Successful Breastfeeding, with a Focus on Steps 3 and 10; Tobacco Cessation and Prevention, Triple P (Positive Parenting Program), Family Connects Newborn Home Visiting Program, and Clinical Efforts to Address Secondhand Smoke Exposure (CEASE).
The ICO4MCH initiative seeks to reduce the rates of infant mortality, unintended pregnancy, preterm birth (including low birth and very low birthweight), child death (age 1-5), substantiated child abuse cases, and out-of-home placement for children (ages 0-5) and increase the birth spacing rates in North Carolina.
Contact the ICO4MCH Program Manager at (919) 707-5700 for more information.
The Infant Mortality Reduction program provides funding to local health departments in counties that have experienced the highest infant mortality rates in the state. This program implements evidence-based strategies that are proven to be effective to improve birth outcomes through addressing pregnancy intendedness, preterm birth, and/or infant mortality. Evidence-based strategies include the provision of 17P injections to help prevent repeated preterm births; Centering Pregnancy; doula services; infant safe sleep practices; Nurse Family Partnership program; reproductive life planning and increased access to long acting reversible contraception; and tobacco cessation and prevention. Contact the Infant Mortality Reduction program at (919) 707-5700 for more information about program availability in your area.
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:
- CDC Guidelines for the Identification and Management of Lead Poisoning in Pregnant and Lactating Women
- Summary Chart of Public Health Actions Based on Maternal and Infant Blood Lead Levels (PDF, 297 KB)
- Lead and Pregnancy Risk Questionnaire
- Are You Pregnant? Protect Your Baby from Lead Poisoning
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.
The Maternal Mortality Review (MMR) is a comprehensive state-based approach to reviewing and analyzing maternal deaths that occur in North Carolina. A maternal death is defined by when women is pregnant at the time of death or within 365 days after a pregnancy. The MMR Committee (MMRC) convenes to determine if the death was related to or aggravated by pregnancy. If so, the death is will be counted in the state’s pregnancy-related mortality ratio. The focus of the review aligns with the CDC’s recommendations to identify potential preventability, and contributing factors to maternal mortality at various levels, including patient/family, community, provider, facility and system. The overarching goal is to improve maternal health outcomes.
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.
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 currently offered in Edgecombe, Halifax, Nash and Pitt counties 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.
NC Maternal Mental Health MATTERS program will augment and strengthen systems for pregnant and postpartum women associated with maternal depression and related behavioral health disorders. For more information about the NC Maternal Mental Health Program, please contact us at 919-707-5700.
The Perinatal Substance Use Project (PDF, 107 KB) provides information and referral, training, and technical assistance to families and professionals in need of support for pregnant women and mothers, who are struggling with substance use. For more information on how to get help for a woman with a substance use disorder, call the Alcohol Drug Council of North Carolina 1-800-688-4232. Map of Service Locations in North Carolina (PDF, 3.9 MB)
Pregnancy Care Management (OBCM) provides care management for pregnant women in North Carolina who have a priority risk factor and are eligible for Medicaid; as well as to a limited number of low income, uninsured pregnant women. This program is designed to ensure that pregnant women have access to prenatal care and other services during pregnancy. Women at risk of poor birth outcome are identified through standardized risk screening and are referred for pregnancy care management to address those risk factors. Local health departments, working in partnership with Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) networks, provide pregnancy care management services. Pregnancy Care Managers assist women in having 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 in all 100 counties to eligible low income pregnant and postpartum women through their local health department.
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.
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. Contact the SIDS Program Manager at (919) 707-5700 for more information.
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 at (919) 707-5700 for more information.
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.
Last Modified: October 23, 2020