The Stork's Nest is an incentive program that provides pregnant young women with prenatal and postnatal education, parenting information and necessities for their newborns. In exchange for keeping clinic appointments, practicing healthy behaviors and attending classes during pregnancy, participants earn a cash equivalent that may be used to purchase items they will need for themselves or their babies to start out on the right foot.
Who is eligible to attend Stork's Nest?
Low-income pregnant women of all backgrounds who need encouragement to go for prenatal care early and regularly.
The program has three major objectives:
1. Provides prenatal education and incentives to low income pregnant women.
2. Motivates women to get early, regular prenatal care through earned incentives.
3. Educates women on self-care during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.
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I would like to set up a Stork's Nest. Who needs to be involved?
Representatives from Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, the March of Dimes and a local clinic, neighborhood health center or other health care facility that provides prenatal care services should be involved. The organizing committee should develop a partnership with a local retailer who is committed to providing incentive items to the Nest.
Is participation from all three groups necessary for a successful Stork's Nest? What are their specific roles?
Yes. The March of Dimes establishes community contacts, provides guidance, publicity and personnel and supplies start-up funding (if available), as well as educational and other materials. Zeta Phi Beta Sorority provides volunteers to operate each Nest and conducts the educational classes. The local health care agency is responsible for client referral and tracking.
What are the components of the Stork's Nest program? Must I implement all components?
There are two components of the Stork's Nest program-the incentive component and the educational component. Both components must be implemented for the program to be effective.
1. Incentive items are given to pregnant moms to encourage them to make and keep prenatal care appointments.
2. Educational classes teach pregnant moms how to care for themselves and their babies.
What good health habits does the Nest promote?
- Beginning prenatal care early, and keeping all scheduled prenatal care appointments
- Attending education workshops
- Eating well, and getting enough exercise and rest
- Avoiding harmful substances or environments
- Watching for signs of preterm labor
- Bringing baby to well-baby exams and completing a full set of immunizations
How does the Stork's Nest obtain incentive items?
There are several ways to obtain incentive items. Here are just a few ideas:
- Local retailers provide overstock and returned items to the Nest.
- Corporate sponsorship provides cash to purchase items.
- Community baby showers are organized to obtain neighborhood contributions while educating members of the community about Stork's Nest and its mission.
- Local senior citizen groups contribute handmade clothes and other infant care items.
Where and when should the Nest operate?
Many health care agencies provide the space at their facility or local community center. An easily accessible and familiar place for the client helps to ensure the success of the program. Some Nests are set up monthly in a conference room resembling a store, where clients can shop with "dollars" they have earned based on practicing good health habits or attending prenatal exams and educational sessions. Others are set up in a permanent location (e.g., a store front, room or "walk-in" closet) and are opened daily or weekly.
The health care agency and Zeta volunteers determine the location and hours of operation based on the number of clients, the availability of volunteers, and the availability of space and merchandise.
What are some ways to encourage women to attend Stork's Nest educational sessions?
These "tricks of the trade" have been successful at many Stork's Nests:
- The Nest offers classes on the shopping day so women can earn points toward incentive items.
- The Nest offers attractive, high quality incentive items that clients want.
- The point system is structured in a way that rewards women for completing the full series of classes with additional "bonus" points.
- Clients earn points by attending educational activities at the Nest and by attending educational classes offered by their referring agencies.