Nurse-Family Partnership: 'We need to figure out why' young mothers are dying at alarming rate

Children's Shelter takes on rate of young mothers dying

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - In response to an alarming rate of young mothers dying during and after their pregnancies and others who suffer dangerous complications, the Nurse-Family Partnership now has more state funding for more staff members to help more at-risk mothers.

“There’s five more nurses, and we can take another 125 families, which is great,” said Angela Montez, a nursing supervisor.

Diamond Fuentes, one of the Nurse-Family Partnership's clients, said she recommends other mothers like herself to apply for the program.

“It helped me with learning how to handle a baby on the way, how it’s going to be the first few months,” Fuentes said.

Fuentes said she had a lot to learn. Not only was she a teen mom who’d lost her mother at an early age, she was homeless and had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. She also developed hypertension, which endangered the life of her now 13-month-old daughter, Emerald.

“Her heart would stop. Her movement would stop on and off,” Fuentes said about her child. 

Because of the challenges that Fuentes overcame, along with being drug-free and graduating from high school, she was given the Mirabeau Lamar Award by the Harlandale Masonic Lodge. 

“Now I’m in a better state of mind,” she said. “I feel more at peace.”

Montez said the Family-Nurse Partnership follows a mother through much of her pregnancy and remains supportive until their child is 2 years old.

Montez said her nurses educate and advise the mothers about how to lower their risks for maternal mortality, dying before or after childbirth and maternal morbidity, a life-altering complication such as stroke. She said the program tries to address risk factors such as poverty, lack of pre-natal care, poor nutrition, increased stress, substance abuse, domestic violence and existing health conditions, such as high-blood pressure and diabetes.

“We need to figure out why moms are dying,” Montez said.

She said that, if they do, single fathers or grandparents are left with the difficult task of raising the baby.

“You can’t take the place of mom," Montez said. 

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