Community

Gift of Life is working hard to keep Montgomery’s future bright – one mother, one baby, one family at a time.

According to the 2010 census, there are 229,363 people living in Montgomery County. 53,840 of these residents are women of childbearing age (18-44). Some are parents already, some are parents-to-be. Another 15,597 (6.8%) of Montgomery residents are young children, ages birth to age 5.1

For almost 30 years, Gift of Life has worked to provide low-income women with accessible and quality prenatal and delivery care. Having prenatal care is vital for good birth outcomes. A good birth outcome is the foundation for healthy baby, a healthy adult and a healthy, thriving community.

Almost 30% of Montgomery County’s population is made up of young women and young children. This percentage, plus the number of those yet-to-be-born, now and will make up a significant portion of Montgomery’s future.

Through the years, GOL realized that access to prenatal care was not enough. Care coordinators were put into physician offices to determine any unmet needs that would interfere with prenatal care provision. Caseloads were high, so in 2008, Nurse-Family Partnership was implemented. Registered nurses began to provide one-to-one support and education in the home. In 2014, the individualized services were expanded to include Parents as Teachers home visitation and Mobile Family Coaching. These programs all work in partnership with at-risk women so that the stressors, the obstacles in life that often threaten the health of the mother, and jeopardize the birth outcome, are identified and faced.

GOL believes that it is imperative for women to be empowered to dream about better futures, to believe that these futures can be reached and to actually achieve the goals they set for themselves and their families – whether these goals are physical, emotional or economic.

We plan to work for at least another 30 years so that Montgomery’s young children, and Montgomery’s young women, including their children-to-be, will be confident, willing, and capable of keeping Montgomery’s future bright.

What do we work hard on?

We help pregnant moms to change their habits.

Smoking tobacco, using alcohol and living with the stress of Domestic Violence are all factors that contribute to premature birth. Prematurity (birth at less than 37 weeks gestation) is a major cause of infant death in the first year and is associated with health problems ranging from lung disorders to learning disabilities.

Premature birth is a threat to the future of Montgomery because prematurity threatens the health and development of children.

Alabama has an “F:” on the 2015 March of Dimes Prematurity Report Card. 15.1% of AL babies are born too early. 16.5% of AL Af-Am babies are born too early.

We help mothers consider the benefits of breastfeeding.

Breast milk is recognized as the optimal source of nutrition for infants because of its unique nutritional and immunological characteristics. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of an infant’s life, followed by the introduction of appropriate complementary foods along with continued breastfeeding until at least 12 months of age.2

We work hard to assure that future Montgomery citizens are emotionally healthy.

Even small children can exhibit signs of stress and are at risk for developing patterns of reacting that may lead to a life of discord or violence. All of our Family Coaching programs offer parenting education to prevent physical child abuse and promote healthy bonding. Positive attachment is a buffer for emotional abuse, and helps to prevent future emotional disturbance, as well.

We work hard to assure that our future citizens are developmentally on target.

Mothers are taught the milestones of development and given suggested activities that will encourage and support the achievement of those milestones.

We work hard to maintain the health of Montgomery’s future citizens.

Our family coaches help mothers realize the importance of and remember to get those important immunizations. If transportation is a problem, we can help with that too!

We help mothers to think about their futures.

We assist women in making well-considered plans for their future children so that the next child has the best start possible. Planning ahead also helps her to set and meet her own life goals.

We assist women in becoming the Montgomery citizens that they want to be.

Our Family Coaches help in clarifying life goals. If continuing or finishing an education is desired, we help with the application process. If finding a job is proving to be difficult, we help look for job training, or job openings. If needed we can review completed job applications.

Gift of Life is working hard to keep Montgomery’s future bright – if you want to know how we are doing click here

Resources:

Alabama Census Data: Age & Sex By County

Breastfeeding Among Minority Women: Moving From Risk Factors to Interventions

PRAMS Surveillance Report, Alabama 2013