The Stork’s Nest is designed to increase the number of women who get early and regular prenatal care so that more babies get a healthy start in life. Stork’s Nest provides incentives to help pregnant women make and keep prenatal care appointment. It also teaches expectant parents about healthy pre natal and infant care practices.
Pregnant women in Harlem are referred to the Stork’s Nest through the prenatal care program at Harlem Hospital. Criteria are very basic: women must be low income and need encouragement to keep prenatal appointments.
Women referred to the Nest “earn” points toward incentive items through a variety of health-promoting activities.
The March of Dimes estimates that 12% of pregnant women—close to half a million a year—do not get adequate prenatal care. Prenatal care is vitally important for identifying and addressing medical and other risk factors for low birth weight, prematurity and other infant health problems. Harlem has the highest rate of premature births in Manhattan, according to a 2009 New York City Department of Health study. East Harlem has a 12.7% rate of premature births, which is the highest in Manhattan. Central Harlem has the second highest rate of premature births at 11.4%, according to the same study.
Low birth weight and prematurity are among the leading causes of death for babies of all races and the leading causes for African-American babies. Babies born with low birth weight are 20 times more likely to die in the first year of life than babies born at normal weight. If they survive, these babies may face serious health problems throughout their lives
Locally Stork’s Nest is a cooperative project of The Five Pearl’s Foundation, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. the March of Dimes and Harlem Hospital.