Programming Connection

The H.E.R. Pregnancy Program 

Streetworks
Edmonton, Alberta
2018

Challenges

Lack of hope

One of the greatest barriers to supporting women to access health and social services is that women can lack the hope that they can be healthy and achieve their pregnancy and parenting goals. Women can experience internalized blame, shame and guilt and can accept messages of low self-worth and their inability to be healthy individuals or parents that they receive.

Stigma and discrimination by service providers

The stigma and discrimination that street-involved pregnant women can face from service providers often prevent them from seeking services and accessing care.

Misinformation about pregnancy, substance use and healthy parenting

There is misinformation about the impact of different substances on a fetus, as well as misinformation that mothers who use substances cannot be good parents. This misinformation can prevent women and service providers from exploring the range of health and parenting options available, making educated choices and pursuing positive goals.

Services and programs that do not take a harm reduction approach

Stopping all substance use is not always an option for women. However, women who use substances can still be supported to have a healthy pregnancy and be loving parents if they so choose. When service providers and programs take a punitive and abstinence-based approach, women can disengage from services.