A $400,000 grant from one of the nation’s largest health insurance providers to the Marjaree Mason Center seeks to reduce premature births in women who are victims of domestic violence.
The grant from Anthem Blue Cross to Marjaree Mason’s Maternal Health Program will support expectant mothers at the domestic violence shelter.
Domestic violence often leads to reduced prenatal care, which can cause low gestational weight gain, pre-term birth, and low infant birth weight, according to Marjaree Mason officials.
Unborn babies can often become targets of domestic violence themselves.
“There are a lot of people who come to Marjaree Mason Center who are already pregnant,” said Nicole Linder, executive director of the nonprofit. She said sometimes people think having a baby will solve a relationship problem.
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Grant Funds Health Care Provided by Center’s Partners
But being a social services organization, the center doesn’t have health care workers on staff. The relationship between Marjaree Mason, UCSF Fresno, and Fresno County Public Health in the Maternal Health Program allows them to address the needs of pregnant mothers. The grant supports that partnership.
Those in the program can access clinics staffed by OB/GYNs from UCSF Fresno. They also receive bags with self-care items including vitamins, pregnancy bands, and more in addition to diapers, wipes, and newborn clothing.
After giving birth, mothers can receive home care support for six weeks from a Fresno County public health nurse.
The program launched in 2022 and since then, five babies have been delivered to term. Another 14 mothers are in the program.