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Perinatal Health

DC Perinatal Health Framework

Improving Perinatal Health Outcomes

Improving perinatal health outcomes starts with every community understanding its health risks and its role. To achieve this goal, DC Health’s comprehensive approach works to ensure the following priorities:

  • Every teenage girl and woman in DC is in control of her reproductive health.
  • Every pregnant woman receives patient-centered, high quality prenatal care beginning in the 1st trimester.
  • Every healthcare provider has the tools and resources they need to manage complex social needs of women and infants.
  • Every maternal and infant care facility and provider has the tools and resources to practice evidence-based health care and to document QI/QA activities.
  • Every newborn receives high-quality neonatal care in the hospital and outpatient setting
  • Every parent has the life skills needed to nurture and provide for their family
  • Every infant, mom, and dad has a safe and healthy environment to thrive and receive the support they need to promote early childhood development and learning.

These seven priorities fall within four overall strategic areas to eliminate preventable infant deaths and reduce preterm and low-birth-weight births: improving preconception health; assuring high-quality healthcare; strengthening families as they prepare and care for children; and, promoting safe and healthy environments.

MAP: Health Care Facilities Providing Prenatal Care in DC


Perinatal Health Programs

  • Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative 
    Initiative to implement evidence-based maternity care in District hospitals and birthing centers to achieve optimal infant feeding outcomes and mother/baby bonding.
  • Chronic Disease Self-Management Program
    Evidence-based program to teach DC residents skills (such as learning healthier eating habits; communicating with doctors and making informed treatment decisions) to improve chronic disease (diabetes, hypertension) outcomes.
  • DC Healthy Start
    Comprehensive assessments and linkages, health promotion and education for preconception, prenatal, interconception, and postpartum women and their families.
  • DC Hears
    Ensures all infants born in the District of Columbia receive a newborn hearing screening and all abnormal screens receive appropriate follow up care.
  • DC Quitline Pregnancy Program
    Offers education, nicotine replacement therapy and individual counseling for all District residents. The Pregnancy Program offers enhanced behavioral support through additional counseling sessions and postpartum follow up to prevent relapse.
  • Greater Access Program
    Provides community navigators for residents facing barriers to employment enrolled in a work readiness program at the Department of Employment Services. Navigators assist with providing supports for parenting, behavioral health and other social needs (ex. housing, healthcare, food access).
  • Healthful Food Access Programs
    Programs include farmers market incentive programs and free pop up markets at elementary schools.
  • Help Me Grow
    Systematically connects children at-risk for developmental delays and disabilities with needed services through comprehensive physician and community outreach and centralized information and referral centers.
  • Immunization Program
    Works with families, providers and community partners to ensure children and adults in the District are protected against vaccine-preventable disease.
  • Maternal, Infant Early Childhood Home Visitation (MIECHV)
    Evidence-based home visiting services for at-risk pregnant women and parents with young children up to kindergarten entry.
  • Newborn Metabolic Screening Program
    Ensures all newborns born in the District of Columbia have screening for metabolic and genetic disorder, and ensures all abnormal screens receive appropriate follow up care.
  • Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program
    Works with clinical providers and birthing facilities to identify Hepatitis B infected mothers and ensure protocols to decrease transmission to their infants.
  • Perinatal HIV Program 
    Links HIV positive pregnant women to care and services and following up on the health-status of the infants.
  • Perinatal Oral Health Program 
    Education and training to increase awareness of early childhood and prenatal oral health prevention and care for maternal and child health providers and community based organizations.
  • Place-Based Initiatives 
    Innovative programs located in neighborhoods or housing communities to improve health outcomes for children ages zero to five and their families. These programs meet a critical need to provide multi-generational supports for all the District families who do not want a home visit.
  • Safe Sleep and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Program
    SSafe sleep and FASD education for District residents in community based settings. Program participants receive a portable crib (for DC residents only) after education to provide safe sleep environments for infants. DC Health provides trainings to its maternal and child health partners and community-based partners. The Safe Sleep Program has over 32 partner agencies throughout the District that can assist with education and distribution of portable crib.
  • School-Based Health Centers
    Comprehensive primary care clinics located within schools to reduce barriers to adolescents accessing primary healthcare services, including medical, oral and behavioral health. Centers also care for children of enrolled students.
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
    Program services include health assessments, nutrition intervention, education and counseling, breastfeeding promotion and peer counselor support along with a monthly, nutritionally prescribed tailored food package that includes healthful food options.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention (SNAP-Ed) 
    Behavior-based health and wellness educational activities to prevent obesity by promoting increased consumption of healthful foods and daily physical activity for SNAP-eligible residents.
  • Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs
    Seven evidence-based or evidence-informed programs are being implemented in clinical, school or community-based settings to promote youth social-emotional development and to increase access to adolescent-friendly health services. Programs includes Children’s National Medical Center Generations Program, Sasha Bruce Teen Outreach Program, Florence Crittenton Services of Greater Washington SNEAKERS and PEARLS programs, the Urban Institute PASS program, Healthy Babies Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Young Women’s Project.
  • Tobacco Control Program 
    Provides awareness and education on the harmful effects of secondhand smoke exposure. Efforts include targeted public health campaigns for pregnant women and mothers on the impact of smoking during pregnancy and secondhand smoke exposure; and, training and technical assistance on the health effects of smoking and tobacco use to programs that directly serve mothers and children.
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