Posts Tagged ‘ pregnancy ’

Healthy Start & Text4baby: Honoring National Infant Mortality Awareness Month through a Shared Mission

Sarah Ingersoll is the Campaign Director for text4baby at the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition

This September, the maternal and child health community comes together around National Infant Mortality Awareness Month. Sadly, health disparities in infant mortality rates linger in this country despite our best efforts to support and educate moms. The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition and the text4baby program share the National Healthy Start Association’s mission to overcome these disparities. During September, we celebrate the progress we are making together to combat poor birth outcomes and infant mortality by connecting more moms to high-quality health and safety information through text4baby.

To the many Healthy Start sites already sharing text4baby with your clients, we say a heartfelt “thank you.” If you aren’t yet familiar with text4baby, we hope you will take time this month to join us in providing this tool to your clients. Text4baby reinforces the health information you already provide to clients, extending and strengthening your relationship with moms and families.

According to Barbara Lee Jackson, Interim Executive Director of the National Healthy Start Association (NHSA), “Encouraging pregnant women to maintain a pro-active attitude in their care using health information is a key service component offered at all Healthy Start project sites and NHSA believes that text4baby offers a unique health education opportunity.  Using text messaging that is direct, fast, and consistent, we are reinforcing healthy behaviors for Healthy Start clients enrolled in the text4baby program. ”

During September, text4baby offers an additional benefit to new text4baby users through our Fall Sign-Up Contest. We’ve created a special code for Healthy Start moms, allowing NHSA and local sites to track your impact on enrolling moms in your community. Moms who sign up for the service between September 1st and September 30th and enter the participant code “HS” when prompted during registration will be entered to win a year´s supply of Johnson´s Baby products.

To learn more about text4baby’s benefits for your Healthy Start community and for details about the contest visit www.nationalhealthystart.org.

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We Fight, So Babies Don’t Have To!

Today is World Prematurity Day and our opportunity to focus everyone’s attention on the serious problem of premature birth. Join the National Healthy Start Association and its members in honoring the million babies worldwide who died this year because they were born too soon, and the 12 million more who struggle to survive.

We encourage you to wear purple today in honor of the babies that are born too soon and too small. Also, visit the World Prematurity page on Facebook and “LIKE IT. ” You  can read stories from around the world and share your own. Help spread the word by updating your Facebook status with a message on premature birth. Together we can raise awareness of this serious problem and help more babies start healthy lives. We fight to reduce prematurity because babies shouldn’t have to.

Let’s make sure more babies blow out their 1st candle

Phyllis George, NHSA Senior Program Manager, answers the question, “Why do you feel it is important to raise awareness around infant mortality?”

I learned early in life how devastating the effects of infant mortality can have on families. My parents are from Sierra Leone in west Africa, and many aunts and cousins growing up never got a chance to celebrate the 1st birthdays of their children. Over the years, the number of maternal and infant deaths has decreased, but Sierra Leone still has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. Who would have thought that years later I would be working to help bring awareness to the issue in a nation where a woman does not have to walk for miles to receive prenatal care? It amazes me the wealth of resources that are available to people in the United States; yet we only rank 31st  in infant mortality rates among industrialized countries.

I believe that the main factor that contributes to the alarming infant mortality rates in the U.S. is lack of education and awareness about the issue. Other factors such as race and socio-economic status play a part, but many people, even those with a background in public health, are not aware of how to improve their chances of a successful pregnancy. I have yet to experience the privilege of being a mother, but if I wasn’t in the field of maternal and child health, would I know this information and ensure that my unborn child had the best start in life possible? Would I, after having my child, understand how to make sure that life flourishes beyond year one? I honestly do not know.

Health providers, community workers, churches, hair salons, friends, family members…these are the people that those who are most at risk of experiencing an infant death come in contact with on a regular basis. We all need to help in this fight and increase infant mortality awareness. Other countries should use us as an example and follow our lead on ensuring that the families in their communities are healthy. September is when we can begin to open up dialogue on this topic to families who do not know or congressmen who are not aware of the deplorable infant mortality rates in their cities, but let’s continue to spread the message throughout the year. Be the voice for the countless babies who did not live to blow out their first candle.

Influenza and Pregnancy: After 2009 H1N1

Contributed by: Sonja A. Rasmussen, MD, MS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA

Pregnant women have long been known to be at increased risk for severe illness from influenza.  For this reason, flu shots have been recommended for pregnant women by key professional groups for many years.  However, before the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, vaccination rates among pregnant women were low, the lowest of any of the adult groups for whom influenza vaccination was recommended.

We are now well into the first influenza season following the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.  However, we entered this flu season armed with considerably more knowledge about influenza and pregnant women than we ever had before.  The focus on influenza and pregnancy that occurred during the 2009-2010 flu season led to unprecedented collaborations between CDC and its partners in maternal and child health.  These collaborations resulted in research to better understand influenza during pregnancy.   We now know that pregnant women with influenza who are otherwise healthy can become severely ill and die, even in the 21st century.  We also now know that early treatment can prevent severe illness and death. Pregnant women with 2009 H1N1 who were treated early with antiviral medications were less likely to require admission to an intensive care unit and less likely to die.  And we have more data to show that getting a flu shot during pregnancy can protect infants from influenza for up to 6 months after birth. These babies are at high risk of complications from influenza, but the flu shot is not recommended for them because it doesn’t work well – their immune systems are too immature to respond appropriately.

Equally as important, we know more about what motivates pregnant women to get the flu shot.  Surveys conducted by CDC colleagues have shown that health care providers’ recommendations are powerful:  pregnant women whose health care providers recommended flu vaccination are much more likely to receive flu shots.  Based on this research, messages targeting pregnant women and their health care providers were developed, and these messages were disseminated in new ways – moving beyond the brochure to social media, videos, and posters.  And the great news is that these efforts paid off — recent data suggest that influenza vaccination coverage among pregnant women was higher last year than ever before.  Data from 10 states participating in the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) showed vaccination coverage during the 2009-2010 flu season for pregnant women was 50.7% for seasonal influenza and 46.6% for 2009 H1N1.  This compares to 11.3% of pregnant women receiving the seasonal flu shot during the 2008-2009 season, according to data from the National Health Interview Survey.

But how do we build on this success, now that the media attention has faded?  As professionals who care about the health of mothers and babies, we need to continue to work together to do the research and to develop and disseminate messages that work. I’d like to thank you for your continued partnership – together our efforts are making a difference in the lives of mothers and babies!

My CDC colleagues have developed influenza communications materials that target pregnant women:

  • Posters to promote flu vaccination for clinics and patient rooms:

Print posters yourself:

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/pregnant/preg.pdf (English)

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/pregnant/preg_esp.pdf (Spanish)

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/freeresources/pregnant/flu_pregnancy_poster_508.pdf (English)

Or order from the warehouse http://wwwn.cdc.gov/pubs/ncird.aspx (scroll down to Flu Materials/Pregnant Women)

  • Patient-friendly educational DVD movie and PSA for your waiting room:

You can preview the movie or send patients to this link: http://www.cdc.gov/CDCTV/ProtectBaby/

Order from the warehouse http://wwwn.cdc.gov/pubs/ncird.aspx (scroll down to Flu Materials/Pregnant Women)

  • Podcasts for pregnant women:

Pregnant Women: Know the Signs and Symptoms of Flu http://www2c.cdc.gov/podcasts/player.asp?f=4062255

Pregnant Women Need a Flu Shot   http://www2c.cdc.gov/podcasts/player.asp?f=4061727

Additional information about flu and pregnancy can be found below:

The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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!