NorthWest Indiana Healthy Start

Serving the Communities of East Chicago, Gary, Hammond & Lake Station

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Building Blocks
to Better Babies



Northwest Indiana Healthy Start

Class Descriptions

 Breastfeeding:  Discussion on benefits (physical, emotional and financial) of breastfeeding.  Addresses different breastfeeding techniques and dispels breastfeeding myths.

Budgeting:  Long and short-term goals for financial planning are discussed.  You will learn how to prepare a monthly budget. You will identify your own fixed and variable expenses and learn different techniques to attain your stated financial goals.

Cesarean Childbirth:  Discussion includes why a woman would have a cesarean childbirth, types of anesthesia used and how this recovery is different from a vaginal birth recovery.  VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) is also explained.

Childbirth Education (Labor and Delivery): Labor and delivery process described.  Identification of signs and symptoms of labor, stages of labor and changes a woman experiences during each stage.  Also discussed are ways to cope with labor and possible medical interventions, procedures and medications that may be used.

Contraception (Family Planning):  Different types of birth control, along with cost, pros, cons and failure rates are discussed.  Common myths about fertility and a woman’s ability to get pregnant are dispelled.

Gestation Education (Pregnancy Education): Discussion of how a pregnancy progresses and how a fetus grows.  Includes explanation of what may happen at prenatal visits as well as why certain procedures or tests may be done.  Warning signs, kick counts, nutrition and signs and symptoms of preterm labor are also covered.

Growth and Development (0-12 months, 13-24 months): Two separate classes that give a month-to-month breakdown of what a baby should be doing at that point it its life.  Growth and development are discussed in terms of (1) Body movements and eye-hand coordination, and (2) Thinking and emotional skills.

HIV / AIDS:  Discussion of modes of transmission and early identification of HIV, particularly in women.  Also covered are prevention, treatment and resources available in the community.

Infant Safety:  Discussion of common household items that are dangerous to a baby.  Safety standards for, among other things, cribs and car seats are emphasized.  Other ways of preventing injury around the home, such as not using a microwave to heat bottles, are also covered.

Newborn Care:  Instruction on a newborn’s behavior and appearance, as well as the physical, emotional and psychological needs of a newborn.  The importance of immunizations, good hygiene and cord care are also discussed.

Nutrition and Exercise:  Discussion of the food pyramid and the relationship between good nutrition and a healthy pregnancy.  Other areas covered include definition of a serving, prenatal vitamins and ways to combat nausea.  The need for safe forms of exercise is also presented.

Parenting:  A series of sessions based on the Early Childhood STEP program.  The goal of this class is to train parents to be more effective and meet the challenges of raising children.  Specific topics discussed include, but are not limited to, (1) The 4 Goals of Misbehavior, (2) Managing Anger, and (3) Helping Young Children Learn to Cooperate. 

Perinatal Depression:  Discussion of the signs and symptoms of perinatal depression.  Also discussed is the effect depression has on a fetus.  Treatment and resources available are also covered.

Postpartum Care:  Discussion of what to expect physically and medically after delivery, including perineal and breast care.  Those who attend this class will be introduced to the concept of “Baby Blues” at this time.  Importance of postpartum check-up is also covered.

Postpartum Depression:  Discussion of types of postpartum anxiety with emphasis on signs and symptoms of postpartum depression.   Attendees will receive instruction about why postpartum depression happens and the different treatment methods available.

Preterm Labor:  Discussion of what preterm labor is and why it is a problem.  Also covered are some of the lifestyle and medical risk factors that may lead to preterm labor.  The warning signs of preterm labor are also covered.

Self-Esteem:  Instruction on how positive and negative self-image can affect your life.  Those who attend will be encouraged to gain confidence by acknowledging your own strengths.

Sexually Transmitted Infections:  Discussion of various sexually transmitted infections.  Symptoms, methods of transmission, methods of prevention and applicable treatment identified for each.  Class also briefly covers HIV/AIDS.

Shaken Infant Syndrome:  Discussion of signs and symptoms that a child has been a victim of Shaken Infant Syndrome.  Also covered are caregiver selection, consequences (short- and long-term) of this type of abuse and prevention.

Smoking Cessation:  Presented in a non-accusatory manner, women are alerted to damage done to the fetus due to cigarette smoking, as well as the harm caused by second-hand smoke.  Those who attend this class are also informed as to what is in a cigarette, the financial cost of smoking and different ways to quit smoking.

Stress Relief:  Signs and symptoms of stress, as well as how stress affects the body, are discussed.  Methods of stress reduction are also identified.

Subsequent Pregnancy:  Importance of allowing sufficient time between pregnancies is discussed.

Substance Use:  Discussion of how drug and/or alcohol use during pregnancy affects the fetus.  Those who attend this class will learn about the damage that is done by drugs such as marijuana, heroin, Ecstasy, cocaine, along with others.  Resources for help are identified.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS):  Discussion on risk factors for SIDS as well as ways to reduce the risks of SIDS.  “Back to Sleep” campaign is also discussed.


Why should you attend

health education classes

with Healthy Start?


  •  Classes are presented in a small group setting.  You will receive more individualized attention.
  • Health education empowers you as a woman to make better quality decisions regarding the life of your child, as well as yourself.
  •  The way the information is presented, as well as the setting it is presented in, is designed to make you comfortable.  This comfort level will hopefully encourage you to ask questions that you may not have otherwise asked.
  • Classes are taught by Registered Nurses with extensive experience in maternal child health. 
  • Classes are available in English and Spanish.
  • Classes are available at many community-based locations.
  •  Finally, babies do not come with instructions.  Neither does pregnancy.  Our classes are designed not only to teach you, but also to help you retain and apply the information provided so that you can have a healthy pregnancy, a healthy baby, and a healthy overall lifestyle.





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