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California Programs

  • We’re working to improve the health of babies in California.
  • Our programs educate health professionals and support moms-to-be.
  • We offer comfort to families with a newborn in intensive care.
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    Supporting moms throughout their pregnancies

    We help moms to get the information and care they need before, during and after pregnancy. If something goes wrong, we support families in the NICU. Learn more about some of our community programs below.

    NICU Family Support®

    When a baby is born too soon or very sick and starts life in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU), the March of Dimes is there to offer support to the family. One in every 10 babies born in the United States is admitted to a NICU. Some babies spend just a couple of days, others many long months. Having a baby hospitalized in a NICU can be frightening, confusing and overwhelming.

    March of Dimes NICU Family Support offers information and comfort to families with babies in the NICU. The program enhances family-centered care practices in partner hospitals to address the needs of families and provides professional education to NICU staff. 

    March of Dimes NICU Family Support is implemented at seven hospitals (plus satellite sites) across California:

    • Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
    • Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto
    • Miller Children’s Hospital, Long Beach
    • Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego
    • Riverside Community Hospital 
    • Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, San Jose
    • Tri-City Medical Center, Oceanside

    Together, these sites serve more than 2,750 families each year.

    Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait

    Early labor inductions and cesarean sections that are elective (not medically necessary) are increasing in the United States, and are contributing to high rates of preterm birth. To address this issue, the March of Dimes, California Chapter, in partnership with California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative and the California Department of Health, developed a toolkit to drive elimination of elective deliveries before 39 weeks. Six hospitals in California and 26 hospitals across the country have been chosen to pilot this project. Health professionals can download the toolkit at the Prematurity Prevention Resource Center (registration required) or purchase patient education materials. The toolkit is part of a larger March of Dimes initiative called Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait.

    Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait (HBWW) is a preterm birth prevention initiative with a focus on "preventable" late preterm birth. Through partnerships and collaborations between hospitals, health departments and community organizations, HBWW provides education for pregnant patients, health care providers and the greater community to understand the problem of preterm birth and what measures can be taken to reduce the risks of it occurring.

    Becoming a Mom/Comenzando bien®

    Becoming a Mom/Comenzando bien is a prenatal curriculum presenting a supportive group setting for pregnant women that is offered in both English and Spanish. Throughout nine sessions, women learn about having a healthy pregnancy with topics like prenatal care, nutrition, stress, labor and birth, postpartum care and newborn care. It also provides culturally relevant social support  and demonstrates improved birth outcomes among program participants.  There are more than 55 Becoming a Mom/Comenzando bien sites in California, serving 9,000 women each year.

    The California Chapter holds regular facilitator trainings for health professionals wishing to learn the curriculum, and is currently collaborating on a comprehensive evaluation of the curriculum with the Texas and Kansas Chapters.  Please
    email us if you would like more information about implementing this curriculum or attending a training.

    See also: Health EducationProfessional Resources

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