Beyond Birth

A Comprehensive Outpatient Substance Use Disorder Treatment Program for Postpartum and Parenting Women

Our Program at a Glance

  • 250+ perinatal women with substance use disorder have received treatment
  • 45 Kentucky counties represented, primarily in central and eastern Kentucky
  • 65% of our mothers are parenting
  • Many of our mothers are on a PATH to become peer mentors and peer support specialists

What is Beyond Birth?

Beyond Birth is the period of time when you have been discharged from OB care but remain in the adjustment period of becoming a new mom. Our Beyond Birth program is a holistic approach for women with substance use disorders. Our program incorporates educational groups, individual counseling, group counseling, peer support and the medical treatment of substance use and mental health disorders. Patients are encouraged to bring their infants and children with them to appointments which allows us to offer guidance on infant and toddler care as the family adjusts to their new roles and routines.

Why Beyond Birth?

The PATHways program began as a prenatal care initiative of the College of Nursing. Women with substance use disorders were provided group-led nursing care in conjunction with their medical appointments. Facilitated groups allowed the women to explore their pregnancy along with making plans for their future, including family planning, birth control options, breastfeeding planning and introduction to infant soothing techniques. With traditional OB care, we then planned to see patients up to their 6 week postpartum appointments with plans to then refer them to other recovery programs to continue to work on their substance use disorders. We quickly realized that not only were there very few programs to refer our patients to, but that the patients had become very invested in their recovery process within our program.  It did not take long to discover we were onto something meaningful for our patients, so we simply began to do what we thought was “the next best thing” for our moms and babies.

Our program as of today is a compilation of simply doing “the next best thing” as we have moved forward. We started with a small idea and continued to make small steps and changes that would improve the lives of the families that we serve. We are committed to being a critical link in the Plan of Safe Care for children of the Commonwealth and to continue to support our patients as they do the work that will break the cycle of abuse and substance use for this generation that has been so impacted by the opioid crisis. 

The program has continued to grow and external funding for expansion has been secured. Read about it here.


In the news:

UK College of Nursing, UK HealthCare Program Helps Pregnant Women Through Opioid Crisis
Medication Assisted Treatment is Option for Opioid Use Disorder

Other Media:

Beyond Birth Marketing Booklet
2017 Selected PATHways Scholarship and Dissemination
InStep Magazine - A Journey of Healing and Hope
Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco - "Smoking Among Pregnant Women in Outpatient Treatment for Opioid Dependence: A Qualitative Inquiry"