Specialist: Program helping pregnant moms underused

Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A little-known statewide program has been helping expectant mothers stay healthy since the 1980s.

The Maternal Infant Health Program is open to women on Medicaid before, during and after pregnancy. It offers a nurse and social worker to help women through not only their pregnancy but after the baby arrives. 

The program has been around for decades, but a lot of women still aren’t taking advantage of it.

Penelope is an easy-going 8-month-old bouncing baby girl. She is Tiffany Strickfaden’s third child, but her first little girl. Strickfaden said this pregnancy was different.

“This is the first one where I actually had symptoms, the morning sickness, those cravings hit me hard,” Strickfaden said.

But just like her first two pregnancies, Strickfaden had a helping hand to lead her through the stages thanks to the Maternal Infant Health Program.

“If I had any questions about my pregnancy and I couldn’t get through to the doctor or wasn’t going to have an appointment for another month, then she would help me that as well,” Strickfaden said.

MIHP is a free program offered to Medicaid eligible pregnant women and their infants across the state.

“It’s such a big need. It’s kind of underutilized,” said Stacey Arambula, a community health program specialist at Priority Health.

Arambula says the program has been around for decades and many of their providers have been with the program a long time and are ready for anything expectant moms will throw at them.

“I think the biggest thing is just asking those questions that they have that they’re maybe a little leery of asking their doctor,” Arambula said.

For Strickfaden, it was not only the medical and mental health advice she received — it was the compassion she received as well.

“They really care. That’s what I love about it. They’re so much about watching them grow and wanting to be a part of it. It’s like an extra part of your family. I love it,” Strickfaden said.

Priority Health is encouraging all its Medicaid eligible mothers to sign up for the program. Mothers in the MIHP program will get two packages of diapers delivered to their home after their first postpartum visit.

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