Ensuring a Healthy Pregnancy

Setting your child up for success is important at ACCESS, which is why we offer several maternal child health programs to improve the health of women and families across Chicago. These programs focus on providing education, guidance and support for women and their partners to ensure healthy pregnancies and improved birth outcomes. ​

Westside Healthy Start

ACCESS is proud to play a role in the National Healthy Start Initiative, a program committed to improving birth outcomes and health disparities that exist within underserved communities. 

ACCESS' Westside Healthy Start program (WHS) strives to engage women who are at risk for unhealthy outcomes early in their pregnancy. It aims to reduce the incidence of infant mortality and low-birth weight babies in North Lawndale, Humboldt Park, Austin, and East and West Garfield Park. 

By providing ongoing care, education and support throughout their pregnancy and first months of motherhood, WHS also strives to promote:

  • Effective parenting skills and partner engagement

  • Increased access to health care, education and social services

  • Greater understanding of proper prenatal care and the importance of healthy behaviors during pregnancy and parenthood

Breastfeeding Services

Breast milk is the ideal food for newborns and infants. It gives infant​​s the perfect nutrition they need for healthy development and it contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses. Breast milk also helps prevent childhood obesity, asthma and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Moms who breastfeed experience quicker weight loss after birth and have fewer negative postpartum side effects. ACCESS is proud to provide the following services for pregnant and postpartum moms:

  • Breastfeeding education
  • Breastfeeding support
  • Follow-up breastfeeding services 
  • Certified Lactation Counselors Services and support are also available for immediate family members.

Male Involvement Program

ACCESS' Male Involvement program works with WHS participants to engage their male partners in their health and the health of their children. The program teaches critical parenting and life skills, makes connections to health services and provides job training, among other critical resources to help them succeed as fathers. The program engages the biological father of the children, and in some cases, the mother's significant male partner. 

  • Referral to community resources (i.e. jobs, vocational training, etc.)
  • Learn about different ways to successfully manage your health and wellness.
  • Obtain resources on healthy ways to care for yourself and your family.
  • Talk about the challenges and successes of becoming a father.
  • Participate in group activities with other fathers and men.

Family Case Management

Case managers assist program participants with the ABCs of health care and provide the building blocks for a healthier beginning by:

  • Engaging families to participate in prenatal care
  • Encourage program participants to bring infants in for well-baby and immunization care.
  • Complete child developmental screenings up to the age of 13 months
  • Provide ongoing health education and planning on topics such as: birth control/family planning, child care, WIC, medical insurance etc.
  • Screening and referring for behavioral health, substance use, and domestic violence.

Illinois Family Planning Services

ACCESS provides comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services, including:

  • Birth control consultation and education

  • Counseling

  • Family planning

  • Emergency contraception

  • Breast and cervical cancer screenings 

Health Education

Through a dedicated community outreach team, ACCESS is able to offer health education or “House Parties” in the community by providing information in the home on key health issues affecting women:

  • Immunizations – The shots you need to keep you healthy
  • Money Management
  • Nutrition Awareness- Eat this not that!
  • Healthy Lifestyle Choices
  • Family Planning
  • Healthy Pregnancy
  • Self-Image
  • Stress – How to Beat Stress and Stay Calm


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As of November 12, 2022