Nicola Sturgeon meets babies and mums taking part in new project

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By Amanda MacMillan

HEALTH Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has been meeting the first babies born to young mums taking part in a new US-inspired project.

The Family Nurse Partnership Programme supports first-time mums under 19 and is being tested in the NHS Lothian area.

The pioneering project is aimed at giving children a healthier start in life.

As part of the programme, seven family nurses visit expectant mums every one or two weeks during pregnancy and throughout the first two years of their baby’s life.

They offer guidance on child development, preventative health measures, parenting skills, breastfeeding, better diet information and advice for mothers on education and employment.

A total of 55 babies have so far been born to the 131 families currently taking part in the project.

Speaking form the project’s base in Craigmillar, Edinburgh, Ms Sturgeon said: “The Family Nurse Partnership is a truly inspirational programme. I know from speaking to the parents involved that they are forming really strong bonds with the nurses from the project which is giving them the support and help they need to make the right choices for their children.

“I am delighted have met the first babies born under the project and look forward to hearing about their progress over the next two years.

“We know that the programme in America has achieved some fantastic results for parents and their children – such as improving prenatal health, increasing employment for young mothers, resulting in fewer unintended pregnancies and helping to reduce child neglect.

“Intervening at the earliest opportunity to improve children’s wellbeing is absolutely crucial to improving Scotland’s health in the long-term and I am confident that the benefits seen in the US thanks to this programme will also be seen in Scotland.”

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