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Moms Matter

CHIP of South Hampton Roads has partnered with Sentara Norfolk General Hospital to provide follow-up care to women who are diagnosed with hypertension during postpartum. Hypertension is a known cause of morbidity and death for women after childbirth and women of color are especially vulnerable. 

As part of a grant, a partnership between Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and the Children's Health Investment Program (CHIP of South Hampton Roads) will allow every woman in the program to go home with a personal blood pressure cuff to aid in self-monitoring as well as follow-up home visiting with a Registered Nurse. 

"We're focused on hypertension because it's so prevalent among the women we serve," says Megan Buchholz, director of Family Maternity at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, which serves a high percentage of patients with high-risk pregnancies. "Every woman who leaves the hospital on hypertension medication is offered the Moms Matter service and we're getting a good response so far," Buchholz says. In the first two weeks of the program, more than 25 women agreed to participate.


"CHIP is proud to be Sentara Norfolk General Hospital's partner of choice in this important project," says Trish O'Brien, President & CEO of CHIP of South Hampton Roads. "Too many newborns have lost their mothers to uncontrolled hypertension, particularly women of color, who are three to four times more likely to die in the post-partum period. This project provides a seamless continuum of care from hospital to home and addresses the unique circumstances of every woman."

Moms Matter nurses will help women attend follow-up OB visits and assist in connecting them with primary care physicians. They'll look for stressors that complicate life after childbirth, including food insecurity, transportation and other children at home or learning virtually during the pandemic. The nurses will initially make weekly virtual visits to ensure Moms are taking their medications correctly and provide additional health education. They will screen for postpartum depression and support breastfeeding and safe sleep practices for newborns.

"Moms Matter is an innovative, holistic approach that addresses a significant health issue, hypertension, but it goes beyond that by linking patients with other health resources," says Sherry Norquist, director of corporate social responsibility for Sentara. "We can make a difference in our communities by partnering with other helping organizations and listening to our patients' needs inside and outside our hospitals."

"Moms Matter is a potential model program to help reduce maternal morbidity and death, especially among women of color, who are disproportionately affected," says Iris Lundy, director of health equity for Sentara Healthcare. "We're also looking at other ways to address social determinants of health that put communities of color at higher risk from chronic diseases and complications after childbirth."

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