Healthy Baby

A baby's birth should be a joyous time for a family. But the joy ends too soon if a baby doesn't live to see its first birthday. The Office of Minority Health says that infant death rates among African Americans are more than double that for the United States as a whole. That's more than 7,500 infant deaths per year.  

A healthy baby begins with you!

It is important for you to do everything you can to lower your chances of having a baby that does not survive. The March of Dimes says research has shown the following nine risk factors can contribute to infant death:

  1. Keep all your scheduled appointments!
  2. Smoking – Do not smoke while you are pregnant. It is harmful to the health of the baby.
  3. Substance Abuse – Don't do drugs or drink while you are pregnant. It is very harmful to the baby.
  4. Poor Nutrition – Be sure to eat healthy while you are pregnant. Your doctor can tell you how to eat for you and your baby before it is born.
  5. Don't start one without your doctor's okay.
  6. Get stress relief tips from your doctor or on the internet.
  7. Violence – If you are hit or beaten at home, get help so that you and your baby can be safe.
  8. Be sure to follow your doctor's advice on how to eat healthy for both you and the baby.
  9. Early Labor – Even if you do everything right, you still might go into labor before you are supposed to. Ask your doctor what to watch for.

Be sure to call your doctor if you have any concerns about the pregnancy!

The Office of Minority Health suggests things you can do at every stage of pregnancy, even before you ever get pregnant:

Before Pregnancy

  • Get a check-up for high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, seizures and thyroid disease.
  • Get tested for HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Take folic acid (a B vitamin) every day. It may prevent brain and spinal cord problems in the baby.   

During Pregnancy

  • See your doctor as soon as you think you may be pregnant. It is important to start care early. Do this even for every baby, not just the first one.
  • Make yourself a priority. Find a support group.
  • Get information about healthy pregnancy from your health care provider.
  • Make and keep your prenatal care• appointments. Ask about complications or risks you may have.
  • Take your prenatal vitamins.   

After Pregnancy

  • Get a six-week check-up after having your baby.
  • Wait at least six weeks before having sex.
  • Breastfeed your baby.
  • Take medications as directed by your physician.    

Always

  • Eat healthy, with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Be active! Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
  • Keep stress under control, do pleasant things that will keep you in good spirits.
  • Don't smoke, drink or use drugs. They will harm you and your baby.   

Taking Care of Your Baby

  • Put your baby to sleep on his back EVERY TIME to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • The safest place for your baby to sleep is in a crib. Do not allow your baby to sleep on a couch, sofa, bed or pillow.
  • Avoid using soft objects, stuffed toys, loose bedding and blankets in the crib.
  • Keep your baby's shots current by keeping your well-baby appointments.
  • Do not expose your baby to second hand smoke.    

We want you and your baby to be as healthy and happy as possible. For more information about having a healthy baby, check out the web sites below.    

Sources

Office of Minority Health, A Healthy Baby Begins With You  

http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/templates/content.aspx?ID=3021&lvl=2&lvlID=117   

March of Dimes Health Education  http://www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/pnhec.asp  http://www.marchofdimes.com/prematurity/21239_5810.asp    

MedlinePlus Pregnancy Health Education  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/pregnancy.html    

Womenshealth.gov Health Topic – Prenatal Care   http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/prenatal-care.cfm   

Womenshealth.gov Easy to Read Brochure on Folic Acid  http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/folic-acid.cfm    

This information is for education only. It is not medical advice. Please ask your doctor for advice about changes that may affect your health.     

Reviewed by:

Richard L. Lane MD., Managing Medical Director, KY

Lynette Cooper RN CMCN  Legal Specialist Sr