NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi Pairs Prenatal and Oral Care to Benefit Expectant Mothers and Their Babies
Oct 23, 2017
NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi has launched a program focused on oral health for expectant mothers, to support both the women and their babies. Providing both dental care and education to pregnant women, the program aims to dispel myths and outdated thinking about pregnancy and x-rays, antibiotics, and anesthesia—outdated thinking that makes pregnant women especially vulnerable to tooth decay, gingivitis, and other oral infections. The benefits of the program extend to their babies as well, since most infants acquire tooth-decaying bacteria from their mothers.
The NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi program is the result of an innovative collaboration between its departments of Dentistry and Women’s Health Services. Through the Women’s Health Service’s Baby Shower program, celebratory events are held to provide prenatal patients with important information and education about health issues during pregnancy, and now dental education has been added.
During the shower, dental residents educate groups of approximately 30 expectant women about the importance of oral health for themselves and their babies, particularly during pregnancy. The women learn the warning signs of potential dental issues, healthy diet tips, and good oral hygiene practices. Since starting the program in late July, dozens of follow-up dental appointments have been made for expectant mothers.
Nicolette Ramsey attended a baby shower in August, just before delivering her baby girl, Janeaya. “I am so happy that you guys helped me to obtain a dental appointment,” she says. “The dentist found weakening in the gum area supporting some of my teeth.”Nadia Laniado, DDS, MPH, director of Community Dentistry and Population Health, spearheads the program. “Seeing mothers before they deliver is crucial in order to establish good oral hygiene and nutrition practices, for both moms and babies,” she says. “If we don’t see children until age two, they often already have cavities.”
“We’ve found that framing this learning as a celebration is very effective at generating participation,” said Ellen Walk, Health Education Coordinator for Women’s Health Services, who developed the Baby Shower program. “If we called the same program a ‘preadmission class,’ we’d be lucky if two or three patients showed up.”
Women who are expecting a baby, are receiving care at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi, and would like to participate in the program should contact Ellen Walk at.