BREASTFEEDING

The health and economic benefits of breastfeeding are well documented. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), human milk is “uniquely suited” for human infants. With rare exceptions, human milk provides the most complete form of nutrition for infants, including premature and sick newborns.

Accordingly, the AAP recommends that infants be breastfed exclusively for the first six months after birth, and that breastfeeding continue through the entire first year of life. Breastfeeding after the first 12 months should continue as long as mutually desired. When direct breastfeeding is not possible, expressed human milk, fortified when necessary for the premature infant, should be provided.

Human milk has all the essential nutrients and sufficient calories to meet infants’ nutritional demands. Breastfed infants experience a lower incidence of infectious and non-infectious diseases as well as less severe cases of diarrhea, respiratory infections, and ear infections. In the period immediately following birth, the first milk produced by a breastfeeding mother (colostrum) stimulates gastrointestinal maturation and boosts immune function in infants.

Evidence is mounting of the long-term benefits of breastfeeding to children and to adults who were breastfed as infants. Recent studies suggest that breastfeeding may reduce a number of chronic childhood diseases including diabetes, celiac-disease, inflammatory bowel disease and childhood cancer. In addition, breastfed infants show a pattern of gaining less weight and being leaner at one year of age than formula-fed infants, while maintaining normal activity level and development.

Researchers suggest that early infancy is a critical period for the establishment of obesity. Breastfeeding mothers experience less postpartum blood loss as well as a decreased risk of osteoporosis and some kinds of reproductive cancers. In fact, recent research data from 30 countries highlight the role of breastfeeding in reducing a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer, which is the most common form of cancer among American women.

Even though research has proven that human milk provides the most complete form of nutrition for infants there are circumstances where the risk of breastfeeding outweighs the benefits. These instances are when the mother is infected with HIV or has human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) and runs the risk of transmitting the disease to the child.

PRENATAL CASE MANAGEMENT

Case Management is one-on-one counseling offered to pregnant women on Medicaid or MC+ who may have a potential risk of effecting the health of herself or her baby.

Examples of risk are:

Mother’s age 17 or younger

Mother’s age 35 or older

Currently smoking

Drug use or abuse

History of abuse

Single parent

Pregnancy-induced hypertension

Late entry into prenatal care

Prior low birth weight baby

During your visit the nurse will discuss many ways to promote a healthy pregnancy, provide pregnancy education (stages, development, etc.) and provide referrals to other services if needed. After the baby is born, the nurse will discuss baby care, well baby check-ups, immunizations, safety concerns, and more.

FAMILY PLANNING

We offer family planning services to women who meet the following guidelines:

  • Do not have any health insurance, OR insurance that does not pay for reproductive health services.

  • Has MO Health Net.

  • If you do not need birth control, still have reproductive organs, and have not gone through menopause, you can still be seen.

Services include a pelvic exam, pap smear and clinical breast exam. Several birth control options are available and our knowledgeable staff will help you decide which method will work best for you.

SHOW ME HEALTHY WOMEN

The Barry County Health Department participates in the Show Me Healthy Women program, which provides free breast and cervical cancer screenings to qualified women living in Missouri. Our program is offered monthly with our Family Planning Days.

Eligiblity:

  • At least 35 years of age

  • Meet income guidelines

Show Me Healthy Women (SMHW) is a free breast and cervical cancer screening program for the state of Missouri. To qualify for a free breast and/or cervical cancer screening, women must meet certain age, income, and insurance guidelines. There are approximately 180 facilities throughout the state that provide these free cancer screenings. 

The objective of the SMHW program is to offer screening services to women who are considered high risk. High risk women include, but are not limited to, women with low income, women over 35, women with no or little insurance, women who have rarely or never been screened, rural women, women of color, and women with disabilities.

Free diagnostic or treatment services are available to women who are U.S. citizens and diagnosed with breast or cervical abnormalities or cancer by a Show Me Healthy Women provider.

TEMPORARY MEDICAID CARDS

Temporary Medicaid Cards may be issued through our office for pregnant women meeting eligibility requirements. A pregnancy test will be given during the visit to confirm pregnancy.