Living Columns & Blogs

First-time mothers have an additional resource in Centre County

A first pregnancy can bring anticipation, perhaps a little apprehension and many questions. Mothers-to-be obtain information from family, friends, social media and websites. In Centre County, first-time mothers have an additional resource: Nurse-Family Partnership.

Nurse-Family Partnership works by providing specially trained nurses to regularly visit first-time mothers, starting early in pregnancy. Each mother is paired with her own nurse who helps guide her through the physical, emotional and social challenges she faces as she prepares for a healthy birth.

During home visits, nurses listen to concerns, assess for complications of pregnancy and provide education and advice tailored to each mother’s unique situation. Expectant moms benefit by getting the care and support they need to have a healthy pregnancy. Moms are able to develop a close relationship with the nurse who becomes a trusted adviser on everything from safely caring for their child to connecting with resources in the community.

The nurse continues to provide visits after the baby is born, until the child is 2 years old. Throughout the partnership the nurse provides the new mom with the confidence and the tools she needs not only to ensure a healthy start for her baby, but also to envision a life of stability and opportunities for success for both mother and child.

Nurse-Family Partnership is a national prevention program supported by a strong base of research. Randomized, controlled studies have shown reductions in preterm births, child abuse and neglect, accidental injuries and intellectual and behavioral problems in children whose mothers participated in the program. Studies have also shown fewer language delays, fewer subsequent unintended pregnancies and a decrease in involvement with the criminal justice system for both mothers and children at age 15. A study published in JAMA Pediatrics in 2014 also showed reductions in both child and maternal mortality.

Nurse-Family Partnership has been independently reviewed and is considered a model program by Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development. Independent analyses of the program show $6.40 return in benefits to society for every dollar invested in the program. More information about the research and analyses are available at

Nurse-Family Partnership empowers vulnerable, first-time moms to transform their lives and create better futures for themselves and their babies. More than 40 years of research consistently shows that Nurse-Family Partnership succeeds at its most important goals: keeping children healthy and safe and improving the lives of mothers and babies.

In Centre County, Home Nursing Agency, part of UPMC, provides the Nurse-Family Partnership program. More information is available by calling 942-1903 or visiting

Kim Bahnsen, MSN, RN, IBCLC is the supervisor at  Nurse-Family Partnership in Centre County.