State aims to provide more prenatal care for women

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COLUMBIA – Friday marks the start of not only the New Year, but the Show-Me Healthy Babies Program.

The program will provide women with incomes of up to 300 percent of the federal poverty line with prenatal services. In addition, women will have postpartum coverage for 60 days, and the child will have coverage for one year after birth.

“Greater access to quality prenatal care will mean healthier moms, healthier kids and healthier communities," said Gov. Nixon.  "I am proud that Missouri is expanding access to health care services for an estimated 1,800 pregnant women each year.”

Nixon signed the legislation for the program in 2014, and applications for it became available Friday.

For Jennifer Wiesner, mother of three, prenatal care is a subject that hits close to home. Wiesner’s mom didn’t have prenatal care, and Wiesner was born at only six months.

“Even though I was only 2 pounds, 1 ounce and my mom had no prenatal care whatsoever, I was healthy. And I had to stay in the hospital for a long time but I’m here,” said Wiesner.

Although Wiesner ended up healthy, she said prenatal care is important because some might not be so lucky.

“Parents who do need prenatal care – especially if you do have an addiction or you do have something like that – it’s not fair for the baby to not get the right care,” said Wiesner.

Lori Garnett, a mother of five-year-old twins, said she remembers the all the costs associated with childbirth.

“With all the different doctor’s appointments and ultrasounds and just all the little things - and if you need any extra medications, vitamins, anything like that - it can definitely get expensive,” said Garnett.

Garnett said she is glad new moms will have the new program to help with these costs.