00:00 AM

LVHN’s Baby Store: An Incentive for Prenatal Visits

In 2001, Jasmyn Ortiz was 15, pregnant and uninsured. Overnight she went from hanging out with friends and doing schoolwork to preparing for motherhood. She received her prenatal care at Lehigh Valley Health Network’s Center for Women’s Medicine (CWM), located at Lehigh Valley Hospital−17th Street. If she needed a ride to the hospital to keep an appointment, a Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) van picked her up.

At Ortiz’s first appointment, Damarie Lugo, LVHN community outreach liaison, connected her with the Healthy Prenatal Behaviors program, which rewards mothers-to-be for staying healthy during pregnancy. This is critical, as more than 26 percent of mothers in Lehigh County receive no prenatal care or get it late in their pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To be eligible for this program, a woman must enroll in prenatal care in her first trimester at the Center for Women’s Medicine and deliver her baby at Lehigh Valley Hospital−Cedar Crest. Some 250 women take advantage of Healthy Prenatal Behaviors each year, Lugo says.

How to earn Baby Store rewards

Each time Ortiz kept an appointment, took a class or toured a facility − like the Labor and Delivery Unit where she planned to give birth − she earned Baby Dollars. They quickly added up, and after Baby Jisela’s birth, Ortiz used them at the Baby Store within the CWM. She chose items like diapers and a diaper bag, baby wipes, infant clothes and books.

“This was icing on the cake,” says the now 30-year-old Ortiz, who works as a patient navigator at the Neighborhood Centers of the Lehigh Valley in Allentown. For her two other pregnancies she went to the CWM for her care, then received the rewards at the Baby Store.

Healthy mom and children

Ortiz says when her own children are ready to become parents, she’ll encourage them to follow her footsteps. “The Baby Store is great,” she says. “I had healthy babies and got things I really needed to take care of them. I couldn’t have done it without the Center for Women’s Medicine and the Baby Store.”

For more information, or to enroll in the Healthy Prenatal Behaviors Program, call 610-402-1600, 24 hours a day.