What is Stork's Nest?
Stork's Nest is a community-based, prenatal health promotion program for low-income pregnant women. The program is designed to promote prenatal care participation and healthy behaviors during pregnancy through two components—incentives and education. Stork's Nest clients "earn" points toward incentives, such as maternity or baby care items, through a variety of positive, health-promoting activities: attending prenatal care appointments, participating in prenatal education classes, keeping appointments for well-baby visits, etc. The Stork's Nest prenatal education sessions provide information, educational materials, and a variety of other resources and referrals that help clients take good care of themselves and their babies.

The Problem: Infants Born Too Small and Too Soon
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, of the nearly four million babies born in this country in 1996, 11 percent were born preterm, and more than 7 percent low birthweight, Many of these babies die or face serious health problems throughout their lifetimes.
Low birthweight is associated with 60 percent of infant deaths. Babies born low birthweight are 40 times more likely to die in the first month of life than babies born at normal weight. African American infants are more than twice as likely to be born low birthweight as white infants. In 1995, African American infants died at a rate twice the national average: 15.1 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births.

This situation is particularly tragic because many low birthweight births can be prevented. One important factor that may help prevent low birthweight is early and regular prenatal care. Many women at high risk of having a low birthweight baby can be identified prenatally and can take steps to increase the likelihood of having a normal-weight baby.
Unfortunately, some groups of pregnant women do not get the prenatal care they should. About one in four teen mothers (ages 15-17) and one in five African American mothers receive inadequate prenatal care during their pregnancies. Lower-income women, regardless of age and
race, are particularly at risk for inadequate prenatal care and unhealthy birth outcomes, including higher rates of infant deaths.
In view of these statistics, it is imperative for pregnant women—especially lower-income, minority and young teen women—to understand the importance of prenatal care and to have every opportunity to get it. Stork's Nest provides incentives for these women to get the care they need.

Addressing the Problem: A Cooperative Effort
A twenty-five year cooperative project of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and the March of Dimes, Stork's Nest aims to increase the number of women receiving early and regular prenatal care so that preventable cases of low birthweight, premature birth, and infant deaths can be avoided. The first Stork's Nest was launched in Atlanta, Ga. in 1971 as one of many educational and service projects of Better Infant Births (BIB), a highly successful program sponsored by the Fulton-Dekalb-Clayton Chapter of the March of Dimes. The chapter enlisted the active participation of 12 member organizations, including the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. The program was so successful that Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. adopted Stork's Nest in 1972 as its national project.
Through Stork's Nest, the March of Dimes and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., are working together to give babies a healthy start in life. The project is in keeping with the sorority's pledge to contribute to the health and welfare of families, children and youth. It also is intimately tied to the mission of the March of Dimes to prevent birth defects and infant mortality. With over sixty years of success, the March of Dimes is a national leader in the funding and promotion of research, education, community services and advocacy to ensure that babies are born healthy.

Program Objectives
Stork's Nest seeks to increase the number of healthy births in communities by increasing the number of lower-income pregnant women receiving adequate medical care and social services during their pregnancies. It does this by providing:

• Incentives (clothing, nursery items and infant supplies) for expectant mothers who attend prenatal care visits early and regularly, which improves the chances of having a healthy birth. Incentive items are redeemed by clients, using points they earn through a variety of activities: attending prenatal care appointments, participating in prenatal education classes, making healthy lifestyle choices, keeping appointments for well-baby visits, etc.

• Opportunities for pregnant women and their partners to participate in educational programs so they can make informed decisions related to prenatal health, nutrition, and parenting.

• Information and referrals to community resources which meet needs concerning the physical and emotional well-being of mothers and their families. Social service agencies such as WIC, welfare-to-work training programs, and others may also participate in partnership with Stork's Nest.

Program Participants
The potential clients of Stork's Nest are low-income pregnant women receiving prenatal care in cooperating clinics, hospitals, or other health care facilities and high-risk pregnancy programs in the communities to be served. In general, "walk-ins" are not permitted to earn points at Stork's Nest until they show proof of prenatal care enrollment via a provider referral form. However, all pregnant women and their partners who attend Stork's Nest educational sessions may earn points toward incentive items available at the Nest.

Contact Us
The Stork's Nest is located in the Jackson Medical Mall in Suite 3130. If you are a health professional or a volunteer from a participating prenatal care agency and/or organization and would like to refer an expectant mother to the Stork's Nest program, please contact us at adz@adz1938.org.