HTRC Director Eve-Lynn Nelson, Ph.D., recently presented for the HRSA-funded, National Maternal and Infant Nutrition Intensive Course to highlight telehealth programs for pregnant and postpartum women. Nelson overviewed the MomHealth Pilot, an effort to improve outcomes for teen mothers and their children. This innovative intervention augments “traditional” telemental health visits and telesupport groups with iPads preloaded with educational YouTube videos; text messages; and apps designed to help moms cope with daily stress.
“Our goal,” explained Nelson, “is to use teen-friendly technologies to help young mothers breastfeed, prevent depression, and live healthy and active lives. We know that we need to make things simple for these busy, stressed moms – that’s why we developed the program to be delivered right in their homes.”
Nelson, who serves alongside Karen Wambach, Ph.D., and Ann Davis, Ph.D., as co-PIs, said the intervention was designed to consider several interrelated factors that are more prominent in teen moms. They have lower rates of breastfeeding, are more likely to gain and maintain excessive weight and have higher rates of postpartum depression. Increased breastfeeding has health benefits for both mother and child, and preventing and treating depression also positively impact health outcomes. Influencing these behaviors, therefore, can enhance overall health of both mother and child.
The national model was based on the Antenatal and Neonatal Guidelines, Education and Learning System (ANGELS), developed through a partnership among the University of Arkansas College of Medicine, the Arkansas Department of Human Services and the Arkansas Medical Society. Though still in its infancy, so far nine mothers have completed the MomHealth program and participants have shown high rates of satisfaction with the individual counseling televideo sessions and the text messaging component. The National Institute for Health trial will start this fall. For more information about the program, please contact HTRC at 877-643-HTRC.