One in nine babies are born prematurely in Kentucky, but a longtime state program for parents is working to lower that rate.
November is Prematurity Awareness Month and the Lincoln Trail District Health Department has promoted its Health Access Nurturing Development Services, or Kentucky HANDS, a program offered throughout the state that is shown to decrease the likelihood that a baby will be born early.
“It’s a helping hand for families to give them support and encouragement through that difficult period of parenthood,” said Shelly Lambert, director of early childhood services for the health department.
Lambert oversees the HANDS program for Lincoln Trail, which is for parents during the prenatal period until the child’s third birthday. Staff visits families at their homes on a weekly basis to support them and provide information about nutrition, parenting, child development and other topics.
Children don’t come with a manual, but Lambert said HANDS can act as one.
“The main focus really is that parent-child relationship,” she said. “Even during pregnancy or when the child is first born, we are trying to get those parents and that child born and attached because that’s a major…
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