July 7, 2003
(Human Resources and Employment)


Mothers and families encouraged to take advantage of Mother Baby Nutrition Supplement

Ralph Wiseman, Minister of Human Resources and Employment, today encouraged expectant mothers and families to take advantage of his departmentís Mother Baby Nutrition Supplement (MBNS).

"Hundreds of low income pregnant women and families have taken advantage of the Mother Baby Nutrition Supplement, and we encourage more to apply," Minister Wiseman said. "Our goal is to provide this supplement to as many eligible women as possible as part of the Government of Newfoundland and Labradorís commitment to the well being of children and families"

The Department of Human Resources and Employment introduced the Mother Baby Nutrition Supplement in December 2001, as a replacement for the Mother Baby Food Allowance.

The MBNS is a $45 monthly benefit provided to eligible low income pregnant women and families with children under the age of one, to assist with the extra cost of eating healthy during pregnancy and throughout the childís first year. Mothers and families are eligible to apply for the benefit if their family net income is under $22,744.

In the past year, approximately 1,800 pregnant women and families with children under one received the MBNS, an increase of 500 from last year. Nearly 30 per cent of these families were not receiving income support benefits at the time of application.

"While the increase in the number of pregnant women and families now receiving the MBNS is encouraging, there is still a significant number of eligible pregnant women and families who have not applied for the prenatal portion of the supplement. I would strongly encourage all pregnant women and families, who think they might be eligible, to apply for this benefit," the minister said.

Health professionals advise that eating a healthy diet during pregnancy is extremely important for women and the baby they are carrying. This diet is also important to maintain during the childís first year. The MBNS assists with the extra costs of eating nutritiously during this time.

Pregnant women and families, whether receiving social assistance or not, can apply for the Mother Baby Nutrition Supplement through the Department of Human Resources and Employment by calling the toll-free number, 1-800-508-4788.

Media contact: Simon Lono, Communications, (709) 729- 4062

2003 07 07                                   3:25 p.m.

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