Auburn, Alabama—The Today’s Mom Program teaches nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices to moms-to-be. It was developed in 1987 in an effort to help lower infant mortality in Alabama. Being that Alabama had the high- est rate in the nation at this time, this program was in high demand. In the beginning, 615 moms-to-be enrolled in the program.
The Today’s Mom program is an education initiative of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Program (EFNEP). EFNEP is committed to reducing the infant mortality rate. One way they help ensure that babies celebrate their first birthday is to collaborate with partners such as the health department to help impoverished moms-to-be maintain healthy diets and weight during pregnancy.
“Eating well can help moms-to-be have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. Low birth weight is the leading contributor to infant mortality, so this program is extremely helpful for educating moms-to-be on nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices,” said Stephanie Helms, a curriculum and evaluation specialist with EFNEP.
In 2015, more than 2,882 family members were reached through the program and 94 percent of Today’s Mom graduates showed a positive change in at least one food group.
The program is comprised of a series of six lessons. In conjunction with diet, physical activity can help moms-to-be have a more comfortable pregnancy and easier delivery. The educational lessons provide the mother with insight on all stages of pregnancy. Lesson 1 and 2 have information on the baby’s growth and stress the importance of weight gain. Lessons 3 and 4 emphasize the importance of good nutrition and safe food handling techniques. Lesson 5 and 6 give advice about being on the run and feeding the baby.
According to Helms, there is no cost for moms-to-be to enroll in the program. All lessons are absolutely free. “It’s the perfect program for any soon-to-be mom,” she added. For universities, agencies and other entities that want to implement Today’s Mom, the cost of a curriculum kit is $325. The Today’s Mom kit includes the curriculum and all activities.
“Today’s Mom is a fun, interactive, engaging curriculum that meets a pregnant woman’s needs at one of the most important times of her life. The program allows moms-to-be to establish healthy habits not only during pregnancy but for the rest of their lives,” added Helms.
Visit the website for a more detailed list of the lessons and the activities.
Photo credit: aces.edu