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Pregnancy Referral Program

This project was instigated because in 2016, despite some 2000 births at LRH and West Gippsland Hospital, only 30 pregnant women accessed dental service at Latrobe Community Health Service (LCHS) and many of those were for emergency treatments when the pain had become too much. The project aims to create awareness of the importance of good oral health during pregnancy to reduce the risk of delivering a pre-term or low birth weight baby and the risk of passing the decay causing bacteria onto the new born baby.

The program provided a two hour continued professional development event to local GP’s, specialist and allied health workers in May 2019. The education session provided information on the importance of good oral health during pregnancy which will have a flow on effect to their patients. It hoped those taking part will prompt expectant mothers to make a dentist appointment, ideally within the first trimester of the pregnancy.

A project worker has been recruited with the main objective of the role to engage with health service providers who see pregnant women in the Latrobe Valley. Brochures, posters and referral prompt pads have been designed and printed with the consistent key message “The best time for a dental check-up is early in your pregnancy”. These will be distributed to the health service providers along with Colgate toothbrush packs for all pregnant women who present to their services.

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