NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill Thursday establishing a statewide, newborn home nurse visitation program.
CBS2’s Meg Baker spoke with a mother who said a visit like this saved her life.READ MORE: Gabby Petito Search: Authorities Combing Wyoming Wilderness For Missing Woman, Fiancé's Whereabouts Remain Unknown
“I was taken directly to the ER. My blood pressure was as high as 190!” said Sunmisola Adedonkun.
Adedonkun was visited by a nurse a week after giving birth, not knowing she was suffering from pre-eclampsia. Left untreated, it can lead to serious – even fatal – complications.
“I would have just been home saying, ‘Oh, it’s a headache.'” Adedonkun said. “Because of the visitation, I would say, I’m alive today.”
The new law establishes a universal, but voluntary, newborn home visitation program.
“A guarantee to every new parent in every community for up to three in-home visits by a registered nurse, with the first occurring, by mandate, within the first two weeks, regardless of where your zip code or income may be,” Murphy said.
The program will not cost parents anything. It will also be available for adoptive parents and those that experienced a stillbirth.READ MORE: Teen Stabbed To Death After Dutchess County High School Football Game, Former Student Charged
This has been an initiative of First Lady Tammy Murphy, who said more than 40% of maternal deaths take place within six weeks of the baby’s delivery. Two-thirds are preventable.
“This is the beginning of what I know will make New Jersey the safest and most equitable place in the United States to deliver and raise a baby,” Mrs. Murphy said.
State Sen. Teresa Ruiz called the initiative a labor of love, remembering how important it was to have a lactation specialist visit her home.
“I didn’t know if I was feeding her and she stripped Silver down, put her on a special piece of equipment, weighed her, asked me to nurse her, put her back on there and said, ‘You just gave her three ounces,'” Ruiz said.
Experts said visits like these greatly reduce postpartum depression and increase health literacy, providing nutrition information, safety measures and a connection to resources.
Gov. Murphy said the program will roll out in the next few months and greatly broaden in scale over the next year. Only two other states have a law like this in place.MORE NEWS: Man Accused Of Stealing FDNY Coat, Radio From Bronx Fire Station
CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report.