Program in Salt Lake County pairs nurses with first-time mothers to offer education, support

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SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah -- Being a first-time mother can be scary, but a program in Salt Lake County is making it easier.

Karina Hernandez is one of the women benefiting from the program, which brings nurses in to make home visits to mothers having their first child.

"And I think, ‘Oh, this is perfect for me because I don't have no one here,'" she said of her decision to participate.

Little Adan is 9 months old now, and thanks to the Nurse Family Partnership, Hernandez said she was ready to be his mother.

"About the pregnancy, was month by month what happens with me, how can I feel, and things that I will need and my body--it's going to change, and being prepared for the baby when he arrived,” she said.

Adan is a good baby, but there were times when he got sick or cried a lot.

Hernandez said: "That's the time that I need some help and I text my nurse and she told me 'OK, try this, or these different things' and I say, 'OK I need the help because I don't know what to do with the first baby.’ It's a human life in your hands, and you don't know anything I think, and you have to learn."

Public health nurse Kellie Duckworth said they are there to help new mothers learn.

“We're just here to kind of guide or direct them, in areas--wherever they need help,” she said.

The nurses help with basics like changing diapers and dropping some by if the new mother runs out. They also help mothers understand the importance of everything from childhood vaccinations to the best treatment for a cold.

"It's completely voluntary, so they have to want to participate, so that's another thing I think that makes this so successful, is that they're usually motivated and determined and they want a better life for their child and their family,” Duckworth said.

Hernandez said her husband is often away at work, and she said it's nice to know help is just a phone call away.

“When you have another woman that can help you, and teach you some things that you don't know, I think it is, maybe I couldn't do it without my nurse; she's really good with me,” she said.