Author: Vince Ford, Chief Community Health Services Officer

Life is a beautiful gift, especially for a parent. With the many joys parents have, there are a number of challenges that can be the toughest and yet the most rewarding. During a child’s development, it is vital for children to receive the care needed for proper development. Palmetto Health provides numerous programs to aid every parent in their journey for whatever step they are at.

Research has shown that early, adequate prenatal care significantly improves the chances of having a healthy baby. To support this effort, Palmetto Health created Palmetto Healthy Start (PHS), a free program that is part of the national Healthy Start initiative and encourages moms-to-be to begin prenatal care as soon as they become pregnant.

Families who have worked with the program have seen exceptional results, with decreases in the rates of low birth weight and infant death. The program has helped parents make better decisions and avoid preventable poor birth outcomes. Teaching expectant mothers about nutrition and the dangers of substance abuse during pregnancy helps babies grow into strong children and provides parents a better future for their family.

We’ve seen this through participants such as Philnesia Miller and her baby, Margot. They were involved with Palmetto Healthy Start very early in their journey and as a result, were provided the support and resources needed to raise a healthy, and happy baby.

Every family will experience challenges, but many of our Palmetto Health programs are designed to help parents and their children in this community. I urge parents to seek assistance to help us reduce infant mortality and create a healthy babies and strong families.

Palmetto Healthy Start provides support and services in Lexington and Sumter counties under a federal grant and through the participation of Palmetto Health. For more information, call Palmetto Healthy Start at 803-296-3780.