North Carolina

Welcome to North Carolina’s webpage on Preconception Health.  With strong support and leadership from clinicians, public health experts, and community partners, we have been focusing on improving women’s health for many years. We are excited about our new partnership with Every Woman Southeast and look forward to learning from our colleagues in other states. While we’re proud of our past and current work, there is much more to be done. Please join us!

North Carolina's Preconception Health Plan

In 2007 the North Carolina Preconception Health Coalition was formed with the initial priority areas identified as promotion of healthy weight and intended pregnancies. This statewide coalition worked together to develop the NC Preconception Health Strategic Plan (for 2008-2013) and continues to meet annually. To read more about our first strategic planning process click here.

 This plan has been supplemented to include the social determinants of health, an expanded target population, and the inclusion of the life course perspective. The supplement to the NC Preconception Health Strategic Plan can be accessed here.

North Carolina is now on our way to improving many of the preconception health indicators that are measured in our state. A team of volunteers has been convened to draft the new 2013-2017 preconception health strategic plan. We will share the draft with partners across the state this summer for feedback. If you'd like to get involved please contact Alvina Long Valentin.

In 2007, the Center for Maternal and Infant Health published a summary of North Carolina’s historical work in preconception health - Looking Back Moving Forward, North Carolina’s Path to Healthier Mothers and Babies. To access this report click here.

Preconception Health Activity Highlights

  • In January 2012, North Carolina had an opportunity to present an overview of all of its infant mortality prevention related efforts at the HRSA Sponsored Regional Summit on Infant Mortality. To view our powerpoint presentation, please click here.
  • North Carolina Division of Public Health’s Women’s Health Branch designs and promotes programs that preserve the health of women and infants during the childbearing years that include the following:  
    • Local health departments and other community agencies serving each of the 100 counties in North Carolina strive to integrate women’s wellness into primary care, family planning, prenatal care, and WIC services.
    • The Pregnancy Medical Home / High-Risk OB Care Coordination Program provides care coordination services for pregnant and postpartum women in all 100 counties.
    • Healthy Start Corps and Healthy Start Baby Love Plus are two infant mortality and health disparities reduction efforts that target primarily African American and American Indian women of childbearing age and their infants in 15 counties.
    • Healthy Beginnings, North Carolina’s Minority Infant Mortality Reduction program, provides outreach, home visiting, and support for minority pregnant women from pregnancy up until two years after delivery. 
    • Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiatives (TPPI) prevent adolescent pregnancy through family life education, youth development programs, parent workshops, community awareness campaigns, male involvement efforts, and support services for teen parents. 
    • The First Time Motherhood/New Parent Initiative Phase One has finished. This Initiative promoted reproductive life planning and preconception health through social marketing, trainings for community outreach workers, faith-based communities and health care providers; and educational tools for men and women of childbearing age. The products developed during this initiative can be viewed by under resources.
    • Young Moms Connect: Communities Supporting Young Families is part of a public-private partnership between the North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Women's Health Branch. The purpose of this site is to educate young pregnant and/or parenting women in North Carolina about issues that improve women's health, help women have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies and inform them about the health and safety of young children. 
  • The March of Dimes North Carolina Chapter supports educational conferences for health care providers and oversees community grants and awards projects that improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.
  • The North Carolina Preconception Health Campaign, formerly the North Carolina Folic Acid Campaign, is a statewide program that promotes the benefits and consumption of folic acid through outreach and training of health care providers. The Campaign has recently broadened its mission to also address healthy weight and reproductive life planning. 
  • UNC Chapel Hill Center for Maternal and Infant Health’s mission is to improve the health of North Carolina’s high risk mothers and infants through several programs: 
    • The Postpartum Plus Project offers clinical care and supportive services to high risk women with infants in the NICU. 
    • You Quit, Two Quit promotes prenatal and postpartum smoking cessation by coordinating screening and counseling among prenatal, family planning, and WIC services in local health departments. 
    • Mothers Matter focuses on improving the utilization and content of the postpartum visit as well as providing specialty follow up services to high-risk new mothers at Wake County Health Department.  In the spring of 2009, the John Rex Endowment provided funding to support the Mothers Matter Interconception Program. This three year program is a partnership between Wake County Human Services and the UNC Center for Maternal and Infant Health. The Women's Health, Family Planning, and Maternal Health Clinics at Wake County Human Services (WCHS) provide comprehensive care to over 13,000 of low-income women each year. The goal of this project is to improve the health of women and infants in Wake County by addressing the interconceptional health needs of low-income mothers by: 1) delaying repeat pregnancy until at least 12 months after delivery, 2) addressing the special health needs of high risk mothers in the interconception period, and 3) increasing new mothers' access to well woman information and health care services. Mothers Matter launched its Facebook and Pinterest accounts in June 2012.
  • North Carolina Healthy Start Foundation is a private non-profit organization that receives Title V and state funding to develop and print educational materials and media that promote the health of families in NC, with a focus on women’s and children’s health.  These materials are available in bulk without charge to organizations in NC.