Baptist Health Community Outreach Combats State’s Premature Birth Rate With Free Prenatal Classes

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – According to the March of Dimes annual Premature Birth Report Card, Arkansas received low marks (a D) because of the state’s 13.3 percent preterm birth rate. A majority of those early births are among the uninsured and underserved population.

Not only do premature babies have a greater chance of being born with a disability because vital organs may not be completely developed but these tiny patients are also more susceptible to illnesses and require lengthy specialized hospital care in Neonatal Intensive Care Units. It’s estimated that to care for and raise a premature infant costs more than $51,000 in just the first year.

However, one of the most significant ways to lower the chances of having a premature baby is to understand the importance of prenatal care and to be diligent in seeing an obstetrician throughout the pregnancy.

Through Baptist Health Community Outreach’s free prenatal classes, expecting moms, who could use a helping hand, have access to important education and life-changing resources for themselves and their babies. Some of the topics and services from the classes include nutrition and physical fitness, childbirth education/breastfeeding, newborn care, parenting, weight checks, assistance with Medicaid waiver and WIC enrollment, baby supplies, car seat checkups and more.

The prenatal classes are held at the Baptist Health Community Wellness Center located at St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Little Rock the second Wednesday of each month throughout the year. The next class is Nov. 12. Moms-to-be and new moms with infants can drop by anytime from 3 to 6 p.m. for one-on-one class instruction from community health nurses.

With more than 175 points of access, including eight hospitals, Baptist Health is committed to delivering “All Our Best” in healthcare to the people of Arkansas. For more information about the free prenatal classes, call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST.