I had no idea . . . how homelessness effects an unborn child

As friends of Shepherd’s Gate, many of you know about the effects of homelessness on young children. From physical health, to mental and emotional development, to schooling — the odds are stacked quite high against these precious children. But something you might not know is that the impact of homelessness starts long before a child is even born. Consider these facts about homeless mothers: — Homeless parents today are likely to be single mothers in their 20’s who gave birth to their first child as a teenager. They are likely to have an incomplete education and to have never been employed. — Often, these young mothers were homeless themselves as children — approximately 25% of them were in the foster care system. “Many homeless parents have experienced physical and sexual abuse, constant crisis, family and community violence, isolation, and the cumulative stress of persistent poverty.” — 1 in 5 mothers struggles with substance abuse of some kind during their pregnancies, putting their unborn baby at tremendous risk for medical problems and developmental delays. — Homeless women are far less likely than others to seek prenatal care. 50% of pregnant women do not get a medical assessment of their pregnancy prior to entering a shelter. Every woman experiencing homelessness is incredibly important, and every situation is urgent — but there is a particular urgency where pregnant women are concerned. Every day that a pregnant mother continues to struggle with homelessness, so does her unborn child, often with life-long consequences. But the good news is: outcomes can be drastically changed when a woman has a safe place to eat nutritious meals, a warm bed to sleep in, addiction recovery support, and medical care. We celebrate babies born at Shepherd’s Gate, because every baby born here is welcomed into a safe, secure, supportive environment. It’s all because of the care and concern of friends like you — and we’re so grateful! Feel free to share your responses, thoughts, and prayers in the comments section below. Source: Family Housing Fund

Photo courtesy Zervas

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