open quote

I breastfed this one because of the program. (didn’t with others)…”I’ve learned to eat better, give water instead of juice, to make my own baby food and take care of teeth.” …”15 mothers breastfeeding here today!”…”I changed what I feed my baby the same day I learned about it from you.

 close quote
CPNP participant, Winnipeg, MB.

Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP)

What is CPNP? cpnp logo

CPNP funds community groups to develop or enhance programs for vulnerable pregnant women. Through a community development approach, the CPNP aims to reduce the incidence of unhealthy birth weights, improve the health of both infant and mother and encourage breastfeeding.

CPNP enhances access to services and strengthens inter-sectoral collaboration to support the needs of pregnant women facing conditions of risk. As a comprehensive program, the services provided include food supplementation, nutrition counselling, support, education, referral and counselling on health and lifestyle issues.

Who is served by CPNP?

CPNP targets those women most likely to have unhealthy babies due to poor health and nutrition. Over 95% of projects target pregnant women living in poverty, teens, or women living in isolation or with poor access to services. Other client groups targeted include women who abuse alcohol or drugs, live with violence, women with gestational diabetes, Aboriginal women, and immigrant and/or refugee women.

In 2001/02, over 44, 650 women participated in CPNP projects. In addition, close to 6,000 women were served by FNIHB-funded CPNP projects in Inuit and on-reserve First Nations communities.

What do projects offer?

  • CPNP projects offer comprehensive services, tailored to meet client needs. In 2001-2002, 96% of projects reported offering food supplements, 95% offered vitamin supplements, 87% offered breastfeeding support, and 86% offered one-to-one nutrition counselling. Other services offered include education and counselling on lifestyle issues, food preparation training, transportation, childcare and referral to other services. Across Canada, 306 projects offered an average of 10.2 different kinds of services in 2001-2002.
  • In 2001-02, over 36,300 referrals to other programs/services were reported by 129 projects outside of Quebec.
  • CPNP fills a distinct gap in communities. Three times out of five, CPNP projects are the community's only source of prenatal nutrition services. Many of the other prenatal nutrition services available do not meet the needs of the CPNP target population.

How is CPNP demonstrating success?

Results indicate CPNP funded projects are successfully reaching those pregnant women most at risk for poor birth outcome and often least likely to participate in traditional prenatal programming. Data collected between 1996 and the spring of 2002 revealed;

  • 34% of women served were teenagers, including 8% who are 16 years old or younger;
  • 79% had less than 12 years of education; 21% had not completed grade 10, two-thirds of whom were 18 years of age or older ;
  • 46% were single, divorced, separated or widowed
  • 22% were Aboriginal;
  • 56% lived on household income of less than $1,000 per month;
  • 43% smoked during their pregnancy;
  • 14% reported experiencing abuse during the current pregnancy.
  • Positive impact results include a breastfeeding initiation rate of 79%. Although not directly comparable, this is far above the breastfeeding initiation rates reported for similar at-risk groups in the NPHS1(18-19 years old 66%; <High school 60%; single 74%; low income 75%; Aboriginal 61%2

Communities are clearly taking ownership of their local CPNP projects: Over 370 new programs, activities or services were created in 2001/02 as a result of CPNP, including parent support groups, community kitchens, breastfeeding support groups and clothing/baby equipment banks.

CPNP projects have demonstrated an impressive ability to lever local support. Community sources are strengthening CPNP projects through in-kind contributions, additional funding, and discounts on goods and services. Non-budgeted financial contributions totalling $635,248 were reported by CPNP projects in 2001/02.

Almost every project reported receiving in-kind contributions, including donations of space, materials, and food. In-kind staff hours represent an average of approximately 51 hours per week, per project.In 2001-02, over 86.4% of projects reported that participants (current or former) gave back time and energy to their projects as volunteers or paid staff.

In Manitoba, an analysis of regional CPNP participants found that 100% of Manitoba mothers who had previously delivered a low birth weight baby were breastfeeding their babies to some extent upon hospital discharge, compared to 86.5% of other women.

1.Federal, Provincial and Territorial Advisory Committee on Population Health. Statistical Report on the Health of Canadians. Prepared for the Meeting of Ministers of Health, Charlottetown, P.E.I., 1999. )

2.Source: Health and Welfare Canada, 1990All other data from 2000/01 IPQ Report and Participant Summary Report, 1996-2002.

CPNP Financial Support:

Special thanks to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) which contributes financial support for this program across the country.