Evaluation Confirms EveryStep's Nine2Thrive™ Program is Successful in Aiding Moms-to-Be

Recently, an evaluation of EveryStep’s Nine2Thrive™ program confirmed good news for moms-to-be: the Nine2Thrive™ program model is successful in reaching women who are struggling to access the services and supports they need during pregnancy.

EveryStep’s Nine2Thrive™ program model is a public-private partnership bridging primary care and public health services. If a concern is identified during an initial intake assessment at a prenatal visit with an obstetrician or midwife, the mother is connected to a Nine2Thrive™ support specialist. The support specialist coordinates referrals and interventions, and provides targeted follow-up with the mother. These services are also extended to address the needs of the entire family.

According to the program’s recent evaluation, conducted by Common Good Iowa*, pregnant women participating in Nine2Thrive™ noted a decrease in stress levels, which is important to the health of the baby. Most participants had positive birth outcomes, which were measured by the mother’s level of prenatal care and their babies being born at term and at normal weight. These outcomes are promising because many women in Nine2Thrive™ have lower socioeconomic status and lower educational attainment, which is associated with higher risk for poor birth outcomes.

When embedded into the clinic setting, where a health care provider could make a connection with an EveryStep support specialist, the program model created stronger connections, especially with teenage moms who are often more hesitant to engage in services. The model of serving women where they receive care instead of where they live also allowed Nine2Thrive™ to serve women across a region, when most services are limited to specific counties.

The evaluation identified four “lessons learned” during the two years EveryStep’s Nine2Thrive™ program has been in place.

  1. Time for building relationships between pregnant women and health care providers is important.
  2. Champions are needed throughout the health system.
  3. All patients should be screened to identify concerns providers might not be aware of.
  4. Flexibility allows the program to best serve moms.

With the support of Iowa ACEs 360, EveryStep launched Nine2Thrive™ in Polk County in 2019. Since then, the program has expanded to six clinics: five in urban Polk County and one in rural Wayne County. Having support and resources during pregnancy, including safe and affordable housing, healthy food and mental health care, improve not only the well-being of parents, but also their child. Studies show that stress during pregnancy can have a direct effect on unborn babies, possibly resulting in pre-term birth, low birth weight, and poor physical and emotional health by the age of 18 months.

To learn more about EveryStep’s Nine2Thrive™ program, call (515) 333-4533 or email nine2thrive@everystep.org. If you or someone you know is struggling to find the support they need, please contact EveryStep at 515-558-9946. Or, complete the commitment-free, confidential “Find Care” form on EveryStep’s website at everystep.org/find-care. EveryStep staff will follow up with a phone call to answer your questions and provide assistance.

*Common Good Iowa completed the Nine2Thrive™ program evaluation in August 2021, covering FY21 data (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021).