Mesha Demps is the Women’s intervention Specialist and a Certified Lactation Counselor at the Magnolia Project. One of Mesha’s primary roles at the Magnolia Project is to help assist and encourage mothers to breastfeed.
Breastfeeding is one of the best things that a mother can do for her baby. Here at The Magnolia Project we are dedicated by making sure that our mothers are informed about the advantages, benefits, and importance of breastfeeding.
The Magnolia Project has two Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs), Mesha Demps and Odille Thomas, who provide support, counseling and education to the women of the Magnolia Project. The CLCs have been working endlessly to educate the women of Magnolia about breastfeeding and all of the benefits they can gain because of breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding can be very difficult for new mothers and mothers who have had a child before. The fastest drop-off rates occur in the first 10 days after hospital discharge. Mothers stop breastfeeding at different times for different reasons. Some of the reasons are lack of support at the onset of breastfeeding, not having enough milk, work/school, breast pain and because baby will not latch.
The CLCs provide support within the first 24 hours after birth to assess the process of breastfeeding with mom and new born baby. In an effort to foster and ensure fidelity/duration of breastfeeding, mothers are educated about the benefits for self and baby thereby, improving the number of mothers who will breastfeed for at least 6 months.
Recently the CLCs of Magnolia had a breastfeeding photo shoot for new mothers who are breastfeeding and mothers who have breastfeed for longer than 6 months. At the photo shoot there were babies raging from two weeks old to one-year old. These mothers of Magnolia know the importance of breastfeeding and the bonding time that they receive with their babies while nursing. The CLCs wanted to applaud the mothers and continue to encourage them to keep up the great work.
The Magnolia Project was featured in the Federal Division of Healthy Start and Prenatal Services (DHSPS) newsletter as the Healthy Start Grantee Spotlight organization. Read the article below:
This month DHSPS is spotlighting The Magnolia Project in Jacksonville, FL for their work to improve the health and well-being of women during their childbearing years by empowering communities to address medical, behavioral, and cultural and social service needs. Read below more information about The Magnolia Project:
Prenatal care is a group effort now at the Magnolia Project, an initiative of the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition. Pregnant women that receive care at the women’s health clinic in the Jacksonville urban core can now participate in a compassionate group setting, with the launch of new SHARE (Support Health Assessment Relationship Education) classes that combine medical care, peer support and education.
The group care model utilized materials and literature from Centering Pregnancy through a membership agreement. Centering is a nationally recognized model that provides patient-centered care and results in positive health outcomes for moms and babies.
While too many babies are born too small and too soon in Northeast Florida and throughout the country, research has shown that group prenatal care can lead to better birth outcomes, including among low-income and African American populations. Studies show babies born to mom in group prenatal care had higher birth weights and longer gestations. Click on the link below to take you to The Magnolia Project article that was featured in the Florida Times Union paper:
Sue Seepersaud is a graduate student in nursing at the University of Maryland. She completed her practicum with the Coalition in the fall of 2016, spending time with each program and assisting with a marketing campaign around safe sleep practices. She shares her experience as a nurse and new mom.
As a student in a Public Health Nursing Master’s program, I was very excited when I learned that I would be doing my practicum with the Northeast Florida Healthy Start Coalition. I was familiar with the organization but was unaware of all the benefits and services they offered. I was also a new mother with an eight-month-old baby girl, so being able to work with individuals who had a passion for improving the health of babies, women and families would make the experience an even better one.
Once I started my practicum, I realized that the Coalition offered a myriad of services that provided lifelong benefits. There are nurses that do home visits with mothers and educate them about many topics including breastfeeding, and there are programs offered that assist clients in living healthier lives. The Coalition also links clients with resources, should they not offer certain services that some individuals may require. I definitely think that this is an organization that all women and families should know about.
The experience with the Coalition has thus far been a great one. Learning about the needs of the community and what the Coalition is doing to help has made me want to work with babies, women and families once I graduate.
I attended the Coalition’s yearly fundraiser, the Baby Buggy Walk in the Park, and had a wonderful time. My fiancé and I brought our daughter to the Baby Buggy Walk and enjoyed the event, the cause and the overall positive atmosphere. We already plan on attending next year’s walk. I now follow the Coalition on social media and will continue to do so as the posts are pretty informative. I would urge all pregnant women to take advantage of the services and programs that the Coalition offers because there is no greater joy than delivering and holding a healthy, beautiful baby.
Florida remained at a “C” grade while Duval County received a “D” in the 2016 March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card, released during Prematurity Awareness Month.
Duval County had a preterm birth rate of 11.2 percent, one of the highest in the state.
The March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign aims to reduce preterm birth rates across the United States. Premature Birth Report Card grades are assigned by comparing the 2015 preterm birth rate in a state or locality to the March of Dimes goal of 8.1 percent by 2020.
Preterm birth is one of the leading causes of infant deaths in Northeast Florida, especially in the black community. In Florida, the preterm birth rate among black women is 46 percent higher than the rate among all other women.
For more information about the March of Dimes and to read the full report card, click here.
Although the infant and fetal mortality rates declined in Northeast Florida in 2015, a review of the deaths in the region found that too many of our babies die from preventable causes like bedsharing, parental/caregiver substance use and being born too small and too soon. These findings and more from the 2015-2016 Fetal and Infant Mortality Review process were released at the October 20 Coalition community meeting.
Click here for the full presentation on the FIMR results. Also released was the 2015-16 Project IMPACT report, which looks at the status of maternal and child health in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties.
FIMR’s Case Review Team (CRT) reviewed 28 cases in 2015-16 utilizing an approach developed by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) that pulls information from birth, death, medical, hospital and autopsy records and maternal interviews.
For the first time in eight years, the team reviewed sleep-related deaths. Of the nine abstracted deaths (of 26 total sleep-related deaths in the region), the majority took place at home, while the baby slept with others, in an unsafe sleep location, on soft bedding and with unsafe items in the bed.
A mother’s health prior to pregnancy continued to have a major impact on birth outcomes. Unmanaged medical conditions and high BMIs can lead to maternal complications and prematurity. Substance use before, during and after pregnancy also impacts preconception health; can lead to fetal deaths and babies born with withdrawal issues; and is a factor in a number of sleep-related deaths.
Based on the infant mortality statistics and the FIMR cases, the Case Review Team developed the following recommendations:
- Safe sleep education will continued to be a recommendation. More specifically, a Public Service Announcement to include information about bedding, bedsharing and additional teaching regarding skin-to-skin contact while “alert and awake.” We will collaborate with a number of local agencies who partake in the Child Abuse Death Review team.
- Address late entry or second trimester entry into care. Referral time for women on Medicaid from the assinged medical home to the obstetrician is causing women to enter into prenatal care late. Work with the four managed care organizations in the region to smooth this transition and avoid causing late entry to OB while the pregnant woman waits for a referral from her medical home, whom she may never visited before.
- Centralized location for all obstetrician-related activities in Northeast Florida. Possibly Facebook, but a website is preferred. Links to classes, connections to resources, fast facts, service announcements.