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!