WIC addresses the supplemental nutritional needs of at-risk, low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children up to five years of age. It provides participants monthly supplemental food packages targeted to their dietary needs, breastfeeding support to nursing mothers, nutrition education, and referrals to a range of health and social services – benefits that promote a healthy pregnancy for mothers and a healthy start for their children. In particular, the WIC program offers nutrition risk assessments and appropriate counseling to support women’s nutrition goals during prenatal, breastfeeding, and postpartum periods. In addition to professional nutrition counseling, WIC refers women to healthcare professionals trained to provide services that address the key clinical causes of maternal mortality and poor pregnancy outcomes.
States offer services and referrals to women at higher risk of maternal mortality and morbidity. FNS continues to encourage innovation to promote equitable service, enhance communications, and reduce burdens that participants have identified as barriers to participation. Studies conducted by WIC and other non-government entities prove that WIC is one of the nation’s most successful and cost-effective nutrition intervention programs. WIC and Medicaid data on over 100,000 births found that every dollar spent on prenatal WIC participation for low-income Medicaid women in five states resulted in longer pregnancies, fewer infant deaths, and greater likelihood of receiving prenatal care