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Being a new parent is overwhelming – A Community Health Worker can help

Last Modified: February 17, 2023

Women & Children, Community


This post was written by Erin Norton, director of community outreach, Parkview Women’s & Children’s Hospital.

If there is one word that universally characterizes pregnancy and the first year of a baby’s life for every family, it’s “change.” From hormones to family size to sleep schedules – it is a season full of shifts. Change, even when it’s positive, can bring feelings of uncertainty and apprehension. With so many things to do, learn, and prepare for, it’s understandable. But, with support from our team of Community Health Workers (CHW), parents can move through uncertainty, and into confidence.   

Who are Parkview’s CHWs?

We recognize that going through this journey can be easier if someone walks alongside you. Parkview’s Women’s & Children’s CHWs are community members who have received certification as well as extra training in maternal/baby health. Our CHW team is multicultural and has experience helping families overcome cultural barriers to care. They are part of your care team, and will work to make sure you have the resources and support you need to have a healthy pregnancy and happy, healthy baby.

When will I meet my CHW?

Parkview’s CHWs can begin meeting with you anytime during your pregnancy or the first year of baby’s life. Families often find that connecting to a CHW early in pregnancy offers the most benefit. Your CHW can visit you in your home or you can meet in a community setting.

What should I expect?

At your initial meeting, your CHW will ask you a variety of screening questions about your health and family, challenges you may be experiencing, and what concerns are most important to you. How you proceed from there is up to you.

Your goals and priorities will drive the conversation. “What I love most about our program is that it is client-led.  We have the flexibility to focus on what our families need most at that time,” Kirsten King, CHW, said. With so many changes taking place, we understand that your most pressing concern may not even specifically be related to your pregnancy. Things like making sure your family has access to plenty of healthy foods is not limited to pregnancy but can affect the outcome. Our team makes your goals our priority, too.

CHWs provide support to growing families through education on pregnancy and infant care topics, referrals to resources in the community, and perhaps most importantly, a listening ear. You can look forward to having one-on-one, personalized conversations about things like safe sleep, breastfeeding, pregnancy spacing and car seat safety. Fort Wayne is home to many non-profit organizations that offer support to expecting families, but it can be difficult to know what all is available. Your CHW will be able to help you connect to the services most beneficial to you.

Families report that when they have the information and resources they need, they feel empowered.  Janee Moore, CHW, finds watching this progression rewarding. “What I love most about this job is being an advocate for women and empowering them to feel confident enough to advocate for themselves.”

If you’re pregnant or parenting an infant and could use some support in accessing resources or information on simply navigating all the changes that come with having a baby, call 260-373-9651 to connect with a CHW. Becoming a parent is a tough job and having someone who can help makes all the difference. Yessica Flores, CHW, offered perhaps the best advice: “Be your baby’s advocate and don’t be ashamed to ask for support when needed.” 


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