Lowcountry AHEC has partnered with Palmetto Health Richland Perinatal, the University of South Carolina (USC) Arnold School of Public Health and Low Country Healthy Start to plan a “Train-the-Trainer” program to improve the interconception health of Low Country Healthy Start clients. The interconception period refers to the time between pregnancies, including, but not limited to, the postpartum period. Palmetto Health Richland Obstetric Outreach Educator Michelle Flanagan, RNC, BSN, and USC Arnold School of Public Health doctoral student Kaleea Lewis have been working with Lowcountry AHEC and Low Country Healthy Start to design modules that would complement and improve the education already being implemented by Low Country Healthy Start.
The first module, Nutrition in Pregnancy and Postpartum, addresses this important time in a woman’s health and was presented in February at the Low Country Healthy Start office in Orangeburg. The 1.5 hour program provided skills and information to the Healthy Start client navigators to enable them to instruct clients about improving their health during the time between pregnancies. The importance of a healthy diet and physical activity to manage weight gain were discussed along with instruction of food diary use for clients.
This program is the first in a series of Interconception Education Project programs, which will seek to ultimately improve the health and care of women during interconception. Future modules will include Obesity in Pregnancy and How to Prevent It, and Diseases Affecting Pregnancy. The first phase of the project will educate Low Country Healthy Start client navigators, First Steps staff and other paraprofessionals that provide home visits to women. The client navigators will then teach the nutrition curriculum to 100 of their 400 clients. This client group includes women in Allendale, Bamberg, Hampton and Orangeburg counties.