dozens of teenage mums-to-be in Kirkcaldy are set to be offered a helping hand when a new initiative from the USA is introduced.
The Family Nursing Partnership supports first time parents under the age of 19 and will see specialist nurses visit expectant parents in the run up to the birth of their baby, offering help and advice. Then, following the birth, they will continue to visit, advising on all aspects of care, feeding and looking after their new arrival.
The preventative scheme, which has run successfully in the States, aims to give youngsters a healthier and better start in life.
Evidence from programmes already up and running show that they assist with improving prenatal health, increasing young mothers’ uptake of employment, resulting in fewer unintended pregnancies and helping to reduce child neglect.
Family nurses visit expectant mums every one or two weeks during pregnancy and throughout the first two years of their baby’s life, offering guidance and supporting mothers to make positive choices on areas such as child development, preventative health measures, parenting skills, breastfeeding, better diet, education and employment.
NHS Fife has appointed a FNP supervisor and four family nurses, with enrolment to the programme beginning in August. The Fife-wide programme will cost around £1 million over three years and will work with an expected 105 clients.
Anne Buchanan, NHS Fife nurse director and project sponsor, said: “The programme has been running successfully in Lothian and Tayside for two-and-a-half years now, and we expect to see similar positive results locally.
“Planning is well under way for the programme, with our FNP team working across the whole of Fife.”
Commenting on the announcement that the scheme was to be extended, Ellen Hudson, associate director of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The Family Nurse Partnership is a very positive way of supporting young first time mums and can make a real difference to the health and life chances of children. It has proved very successful for both mothers and children in the US.”