May 14-20 is National Women’s Health Week.
At Care Net, we talk about women’s health every day and in many ways. We equip young women to make small, daily healthy life choices that affect their overall health.
You probably think first of our core medical services that we offer free of charge to women: pregnancy testing and ultrasounds as well as testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs or STDs).
But did you know that our women’s health exams can also include screenings for breast and cervical cancer?
And beyond the medical services themselves, much of the education we provide through our pregnancy, childbirth and parenting sessions helps to equip young moms to be healthy during and after pregnancy and to raise healthy babies and toddlers.
Through our clinic education programs, women learn about:
- Breastfeeding – The healthiest choice for mom and baby. Moms learn about the long-term health benefits for themselves and their babies in breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months.
- Nutrition – Healthy eating choices during and after pregnancy and for baby.
- How to quit smoking if needed – Smoking causes 80% of lung cancers deaths among women and is detrimental to a mom’s developing baby.
- How to stop drinking alcohol during pregnancy – And how important avoiding alcohol during pregnancy is to a developing baby.
- Healthy relationships – Women learn to create healthy boundaries and about safe and unsafe people to create a healthy environment for themselves and their children.
- Practical safety information including car seat safety, safe sleep, Infant CPR and First Aid, when to call a doctor and more.
In The Elizabeth House, moms delve deeper into many areas of daily healthy life choices including nutrition and forming healthy relationships.
Moms of The Elizabeth House learn about healthy meal choices and menu planning from live-in staff who model healthy eating on a daily basis. Further, they have opportunity to learn about nutrition from a dietitian with SSM Health Dean Medical Group. At The Elizabeth House, the residents and staff enjoy family dinner time. They eat together and take turns preparing dinners themselves – rather than eating fast food or frozen dinners.
Residents of The Elizabeth House see healthy relationships modeled through caring, nonjudgmental staff and volunteers every day and evening. They experience love from “Miss Evonne” and “Papa Dan,” our House Staff couple who lives on site, and many other staff and volunteers. Through living in community with our house staff, the young women of The Elizabeth House see what a healthy marriage looks like.
And of course, our core mission at Care Net is serving women and men facing unintended pregnancies. A woman we serve may feel that her world is spinning out of control due to finding out she’s pregnant, on top of already difficult circumstances. When we can help her realize that there are resources and support for her – and that there is a path forward where bringing her child into the world is a viable option – then she has real, healthy choices. She can make a choice that is healthy for herself physically, emotionally and spiritually. And a choice that is life-giving for her baby.