Posts Tagged ‘ march of dimes ’

Prenatal Genetic Testing

Hi all! My name is Katherine Brown and I am the summer intern here NHSA. I have an interest in the genetic field, specifically with the prenatal aspect and advocating for prenatal screening/testing, which all relate to what we promote and advocate here at NHSA.Katherine headshot2

Most of the projects being implemented at NHSA revolve around building educational skills to be healthy before pregnancy, during pregnancy, and in between pregnancies. These interventions are vital considering the U.S. statistics on infant mortality rates are nothing to brag about. In fact, according to Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers report, every year twice the numbers of babies die on their first day alive than all 27 European Union nation combined. And get this: 1 million more babies are born there compared to the U.S! This is why NHSA supports the Federal Healthy Start Initiative and developed Celebrate day 366…Every Baby Deserves a Chance, and why prenatal screenings/testing need to be promoted to increase the chance of celebrating Day 366!

Genomic medicine has grown tremendously within the last couples of years. Prenatal testing can detect your baby’s health and growth before it is even born. Prenatal testing also tests how the mother is during throughout pregnancy. It is a win-win situation for both! We now have tests, mentioned in the March of Dimes article posted below, that can tell early within your pregnancy (within the first trimester) if your child may have any genetic conditions like Down syndrome, heart defects, birth defects, or cystic fibrosis. It is extremely important to continue prenatal testing throughout the pregnancy to understand how you and the baby are growing. For example sometimes mothers will acquire gestational diabetes during second trimester and prenatal screening can detect that. During your third trimester most screenings will test for group B strep that a mother can acquire and then pass down to her baby. It is also important to know your own family history of disease or what your specific ethnicity may be more prone to, i.e. cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia, before planning to have a child. Make a list of all cancers, genetic disorders, mental illnesses, etc. shown to have affected your family tree and take it to a genetic counselor that will take time to talk with you and discuss options for conceiving the healthiest child possible.

The importance of having all of these factors detected before giving birth is that prevention or treatment can start immediately which means a longer and better quality of life for your child.

If you would like more information on genetic counseling or prenatal testing, please check out the links below.

  1. http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/prenatal-tests.aspx

 

  1. http://www.genome.gov/Pages/Health/PatientsPublicInfo/GeneticTestingWhatItMeansForYourHealth.pdf

 

  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/prenataltesting.html

 

 

 

 

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Turning Up the Volume On Infant Mortality: Every Baby Matters!

Lisa Matthews is the MomsFirst Project Director and Secretary for the NHSA Board of Directors.

Despite the allocation of substantial resources and the hard work of many dedicated public health workers and medical clinicians engaged in a wide variety of private and public efforts, Ohio’s infant mortality numbers have remained essentially stagnant for more than a decade.  Based on the urgent need to address Ohio’s infant death challenge in a new way, with new resolve and new levels of state and community-wide cooperation, on November 28, 2012 the Ohio Collaborative to Prevent Infant Mortality held its first Infant Mortality Summit, titled Turning Up the Volume On Infant Mortality: Every Baby Matters! 

The summit featured nationally recognized plenary speakers in the fields of health, medicine, and community organization:  Ted Wymyslo, M.D. Director, Ohio Department of Health; Arthur James, M.D., Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology, The Ohio State University; Michael C. Lu, M.D., M.S., M.P.H., Administrator, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Mario Drummonds, M.S., L.C.S.W., M.B.A., CEO and Executive Director, Northern Manhattan Perinatal Project; and Magda Peck, Sc.D., Founding Dean and Professor, Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

The many breakout sessions, roundtable discussions, displays and posters sandwiched between and around plenary sessions represented a broad menu of topics geared largely to what works to improve the health of our moms and babies.  Both of Ohio’s Healthy Start Project, Caring For Two and MomsFirst, were invited to share their expertise on Effective Care Coordination Strategies, Preconception Planning including the importance of reproductive life planning, and Perinatal Depression.

Ohio’s Collaborative to Prevent Infant Mortality is a growing group made up of a wide variety of individuals and organizations across Ohio united with a single purpose:  to prevent infant mortality and disparities.  The collaborative includes some of Ohio’s most knowledgeable, experienced, and respected professionals in a variety of disciplines impacting maternal and infant health and representing many influential organizations addressing infant mortality by combining proven, universal best practices and knowledge with unique community-level solutions.

This summit was supported by the March of Dimes Ohio Chapter, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Ohio Section, the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Ohio Better Birth Outcomes, Columbus Public Health Caring for Two Program, and the Ohio Department of Health.

The Volume on Infant Mortality was turned up really loud in Ohio with the hopes of breaking out of the public health and clinical boundaries to effect change in the social determinants of health that so profoundly affect infant mortality.  Another Summit was promised to take place in two years to reflect on the progress Ohio makes to ensure more of its babies grow up to be healthy, productive citizens.

Video recordings of all plenary presentations and audio recordings of 11 of the breakout sessions from the November 28, 2012 Infant Mortality Summit are now online.  Accompanying PowerPoint slides are included.  Access these presentations on the Ohio Collaborative to Prevent Infant Mortality Website at http://bit.ly/imsummitpresentations

Prematurity Awareness and Men

Ken Scarborough is the volunteer coordinator for the NHSA Male Involvement Initiative and Male Involvement Coordinator at REACHUP, Inc.

November is recognized as Prematurity Awareness Month by the March of Dimes and the rest of the nation. This is a particularly important issue for Healthy Start and our work. Often times what he can do during this month gets lost in educating her.

According to an article written by Jasmine Jafferali in the Examiner dated November 1, 2012, there are 8 ways to reduce the risk for premature birth.  This article will identify 5 of the 8 ways and then provide ways that he can help and/or support:

Don’t Smoke. Her smoking and his smoking are detrimental during the pregnancy. When she finds it difficult to stop, he can either model stopping or support and encourage her as she attempts to stop.

Get your teeth checked early. Providing him this information on the importance of good dental care allows him to raise the question to her, schedule an appointment for her and join her on the visit.

Exercise. Her exercising can help to reduce preeclampsia and gestational diabetes; both have shown to increase the risk for pre-term labor.  This is often a natural behavior or a welcome activity for men.  He can partner with her to either continue to exercise throughout the pregnancy or to begin if she is currently not exercising.  This can also serve to build and growth their relationship.

Stay hydrated.  Water is best.  He can encourage her to drink lots of water during the pregnancy, while staying away from other drinks like those containing lots of sugar or alcohol.  As he seeks to meet her dietary urges, he can provide alternatives in cases where needed.  He too can pledge to stop himself.

Don’t slack off in the third trimester.  He can be there to encourage her to continue to eat healthy, drink plenty of water and eat protein rich and high in vitamin C foods.  His presence reassures a level of commitment into the future.

Supporting and modeling these five things can be instrumental in validating the importance of his role in also helping to reduce Prematurity.  If he is on board, we can really have an even more Thankful attitude during November because there will be less of a need to focus on Prematurity Awareness. Let’s Get His Attention and increase his Awareness also!

http://examiner.com/article/8-ways-to-reduce-your-risk-for-premature-birth.

March of Dimes Kicks Off Prematurity Awareness Month

Today is Prematurity Awareness Day! This year the March of Dimes celebrates their 8th annual Prematurity Awareness Month.  And to kick off today, they released the 3rd annual Report Card on Preterm Birth Rates. This report gives the United States an overall grade and compares all 50 states and Puerto Rico’s rankings from last year to this year. Report Cards are based upon many health indicators which include preterm birth (percentage of births before 37 weeks), late preterm birth (percentage of births between 34 and 36 weeks), uninsured women, and women who smoke. The “grades” on each Report Card range from A-F with A being a preterm birth rate of less than or equal to 7.6 percent and an F being a preterm birth rate of greater than or equal to 13.2 percent.

To view the full report please visit:
March of Dimes 2010 Premature Birth Report Card

The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin appeared today alongside March of Dimes President, Dr. Jennifer Howse, at an event in Washington DC. Dr. Benjamin will also appear in a Public Service Announcement which was shown at today’s event.

To view the PSA please visit:
Surgeon General PSA 60sec (View Windows Media Video)
Surgeon General PSA 30sec (View Windows Media Video)

Each year over half a million babies are born preterm and do not make it to their first birthday. Across the country today, March of Dimes volunteers and staff will be holding candlelight vigils to raise awareness and bring attention to the continuing problem of premature birth.

For local events or for more information on how to get involved please visit:
March of Dimes Local Chapters

NHSA Holds Congressional Briefing on Infant Mortality

On Thursday, September 23, 2010, the National Healthy Start Association held a briefing on Capitol Hill focused specifically on infant mortality. The event was titled, “Celebrate Day 366: Strategies to Reduce Infant Mortality and Ensure that Every Baby Has a Healthy Start.” Speakers at the event included NHSA Board Chair Lo Berry, NHSA Executive Director Stacy Cunningham, Congressman Steve Cohen, and representatives from the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Office of Minority Health. The second panel of speakers featured representatives from the March of Dimes, National Fatherhood Initiative and Healthy Mothers/Healthy Babies Coalition.

Over forty individuals attended the event, including Congressional staff, officials from federal agencies and representatives from other nonprofits that are committed to improved maternal and child health.  This is the first time that a briefing has been held in the U.S. Capitol specifically to discuss infant mortality and highlight successful strategies to ensure healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. NHSA is committed to playing a leadership role in highlighting the tragedy of infant mortality and educating elected leaders about the need to increase support to disadvantaged mothers, babies and families.

After Congressman Cohen provided opening remarks, Lo Berry provided an overview of Healthy Start and examples of how the Healthy Start program in Tampa, FL has succeeded in improving birth outcomes.  Stacey Cunningham highlighted the work of the National Healthy Start Association and served as moderator during the remainder of the briefing. The event concluded with a personal story offered by the Cooper family of Baltimore Healthy Start.

NHSA wishes to thank all who participated in yesterday’s successful briefing. To paraphrase the Deputy Director of the Office of Minority Health, Mirtha Beadle, the briefing was not the beginning nor end of this important work, but it was an important step in the process of eliminating racial health disparities!

Support Prematurity Awareness Month

As we close out the month of November, we still have two weeks remaining to promote awareness around reducing prematurity births. Every day, we see how premature birth affect babies and families. With more than half a million babies born prematurely in the United States each year, the problem is bigger than ever.

The National Healthy Start Association is proud to partner with the March of Dimes® to give all babies a fighting chance. On November 17, thousands of people participated in Prematurity Awareness Day® activities in their communities. The month and day were recognized across America and covered by local and national media. March of Dimes also released its second annual Premature Birth Report Cards and America received a “D.” As a country, we are failing to give our babies the healthy start they deserve.  We obviously have so much more work to do if we are going to help save the lives of our most vulnerable population — our babies.

The cards score the nation and each individual state on its rate of premature birth and give recommendations for improvement. The report cards also highlight three contributing factors of premature birth: the rate of women of childbearing age who are uninsured; the rate of women of childbearing age who smoke; and the rate of late preterm birth. Recommendations for improvement are given in each of these areas, for example, federal and state support of smoking cessation as part of maternity care.  Another key March of Dimes recommendation is for hospitals and health care professionals to voluntarily assess c-sections and inductions that occur prior to 39 weeks gestation to ensure consistency with professional guidelines. Check out your state report cards and get involved.

To participate in Prematurity Awareness Month, or to view the Premature Birth Report Cards, visit marchofdimes.com/fightforpreemies.

 

Help us save our nation’s babies!