Maternal and Infant Health

First Steps Program

Founded in 2013, the Cincinnati Health Department’s First Steps Program is a partnership of home visitation agencies and delivery hospitals. First Steps connects mothers and their babies with access to health services, education, care coordination and home visitation (regardless of income or insurance status).

Hospital Discharge & Home Visitation

The process begins at the hospital, where moms receive education on safe sleep, WIC, breastfeeding, the importance of a postpartum visit, family planning options and postpartum depression. Mom and baby are discharged from either Christ Hospital or University of Cincinnati Medical Center and a tracking log is sent to the Cincinnati Health Department.

The home visit is made by either a Registered Nurse, Social worker or Community Health Worker. During the home visit, mom receives additional education and resources, help with scheduling follow up appointments and  is screened for post-partum depression. Home visitation agencies include Healthy Moms and Babes (HMB), the Cincinnati Health Department, American Mercy Home Care and Health Care Access Now (HCAN).


  • Safe sleep education
  • Family planning
  • Home visitation
  • Access to health care
  • Health insurance
  • Depression screening
  • WIC services
  • Cribs


Improving Infant Vitality

The death of a baby can occur for a variety of reasons. However, through collaboration, education and outreach, those numbers are dropping.  CHD’s Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) and Maternal & Infant Health teams are committed to keeping babies alive and healthy.

Risk Factors

  • Premature birth
  • Congenital abnormalities (birth defects)
  • SIDS/Sudden Unexplained Infant Death
  • Smoking, drinking alcohol or using illicit drug use during pregnancy
  • Poverty
  • Spacing between birth

Safe Sleep

To keep your baby safe, follow these precautions:

  • Put your baby to sleep on his/her back in the room where you sleep, in a crib or bassinet near your bed.
  • Babies should not be put to sleep on the tummy or side.
  • Place your baby on a firm surface.
  • Use a safety-approved crib mattress covered by a fitted sheet. No soft mattresses, quilts, futons, waterbeds, beanbags or pillows.
  • Keep soft objects, toys, and loose blankets out of your baby's sleep area. Avoid pillows, blankets, and soft crib bumpers.
  • No smoking around baby: Do not smoke before or after the birth of your baby, and do not let others smoke around your baby.
  • Don't lie down with your baby on a sofa, armchair or recliner. Babies can become trapped in the sides or cushions.
  • Your baby should not sleep with other adults, children or animals.
  • Don't let your baby get too hot. Dress your baby in light sleep clothes.
  • If your baby is very fussy at sleep time despite being fed, soothe your baby by offering a pacifier or rocking him/her. Ask your pediatrician for other ideas.
  • If you bring your baby to bed in order to breastfeed, make sure you are in a position that will allow you to stay awake and alert. Position your baby to protect him or her from moving under the covers or into a pillow while in your bed. Make sure baby cannot fall out of the bed or become wedged between the mattress and a wall. When finished breastfeeding and your baby is ready to sleep, put your baby on his/her back in the crib or bassinet.
  • Do not bring your baby in bed to breastfeed if you or your partner is overly tired, have used alcohol or medications that make you sleepy.

Grieving the Loss of a Baby

The loss of a baby is something no family should have to face. For those who would like the support of others who have experienced a similar loss, there are several support resources available: