Lowell CHC Awarded Grant for Strong Women, Strong Families Program

August 16, 2019

Thanks to a $5,000 grant to Lowell Community Health Center (Lowell CHC) from the Women Working Wonders Fund of the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, more young mothers-to-be in recovery for substance use disorder (SUD) will have access to supports to improve outcomes for themselves and their child. 

The Health Center’s “Strong Women, Strong Families” project supports Women Working Wonders’ objective to assist women in transition, to encourage women to build on their strengths and increase self-worth while reducing stigma associated with substance use disorder. 

The new grant will provide as many as 40 low-income pregnant and postpartum women with substance use disorder (SUD) with access to a specially designed support group and health-related services, to promote their transition into recovery and strengthen families. The project is a component of the Supporting Healthy Families collaboration between Lowell CHC and Lowell General Hospital, to provide targeted supports, to strengthen young families impacted by SUD.  

Women with SUD are at a higher risk for miscarriage, seizure and high blood pressure. Fifty to 80 percent of opioid-exposed infants will develop feeding issues, called neonatal abstinence syndrome, putting them at risk of lifelong behavioral and developmental problems. The first year after birth is a very stressful period for new moms, and postpartum women in recovery are at increased risk of relapse and overdose within a year after giving birth.  Pregnant women with SUD may also hesitate to seek help during or after pregnancy due to fears of legal separation from their child.