Our public health nurses and health educators are available to provide program information, educational presentations, and community classes about the following programs. Call 594-7912 for more information.
The best way to have a healthy baby is to be a healthy mother!
- Take folic acid every day. Take a multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid. It will help reduce the baby’s risk of birth defects of the brain and spine!
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Maintain a healthy weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) below 25.
- Stop smoking.
- Stop drugs and alcohol.
- Exercise regularly.
When you find out you are pregnant:
- See a doctor early in your pregnancy and keep all prenatal appointments.
- Continue taking folic acid or prenatal vitamins.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Do not gain more than 25 pounds if you are of normal weight.
- Decrease stress.
- Stop smoking and alcohol/drug use.
- Keep yourself hydrated (drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day).
- Exercise daily (seek doctor’s approval first).
- Find out if you are eligible for WIC — The Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, & Children
If you are pregnant or a new mom, there is an exciting new program where you can receive FREE text messages on your cell phone to help you during the pregnancy and the baby’s first year. Remember, it is FREE!
Text BABY to 511411
After you deliver your baby:
- Keep your six-week appointment.
- Take your baby to the pediatrician or family doctor.
- Get your baby immunized according to the Virginia Immunization Schedule.
- Take care of yourself and your baby.
- Remember proper diet and nutrition for yourself and your baby.
- Remember the ABC’s of Safe Sleep.
- Find out if you and your baby are eligible for WIC — The Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, & Children
Preventing premature births & infant deaths
Locally, the top 3 reasons babies die before their first birthday are Premature Birth, Positional Asphyxiationand Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Our goal is to increase everyone’s knowledge of the signs and symptoms of preterm labor and the ABC’s of Safe Sleep.
Preterm Labor – labor symptoms start before the 37th week of pregnancy
Causes of preterm labor: stress, dehydration, smoking, infection, drugs, alcohol, multiple births (twins), and sometimes the cause is unknown.
Signs and Symptoms of preterm labor:
- Change in vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding
- Regular contractions or tightening of the uterus
- Abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea
- Pelvic pressure- it feels like the baby is pushing down
- Low, dull backache near your tailbone
- Fluid leaking from the vagina (your water breaks)
- Often, the signs of premature labor are painless!
What to do if you think you are having preterm labor:
- Empty your bladder.
- Lie down on your left side for an hour.
- Keep feeling your stomach for signs of contractions or tightening.
- Drink two to three large glasses of water or juice.
- If the signs do not go away or if you have more than 4 contractions in an hour, call your doctor immediately!
Safe Sleep – Know the ABC’s of safe sleep
|A – ALONE||Babies should not sleep in a bed with the parents or with other children.|
|B – BACK||Babies should sleep on their BACKS for naps and at night.|
|C – CRIB||Babies should sleep in a safety approved crib. NO clutter, toys or loose bedding!|
Do not let your baby overheat during sleep.
Did you know? Pacifiers can help reduce the risk of SIDS.
Shaken Baby Syndrome – Never Shake Your Baby!!!
Shaken baby syndrome is a term used to describe the signs and symptoms resulting from violent shaking of an infant and the damage that causes to the infant’s brain.
Infant Crying is the #1 Trigger for Shaking
When your baby cries, here are some things to try:
- Feed the baby slowly; burp the baby often.
- Offer the baby a pacifier.
- Check the baby’s diaper and change it, if needed.
- Hold the baby against your chest and walk or rock him/her.
- Take the baby for a ride in a stroller or car (in a car seat).
- Sing to the baby or play soft music.
Be patient. The baby does not hate you or want to ruin your life. Letting the baby cry it out when you have had enough is safer than shaking or punishing your baby.
For more information…
Virginia Department of Health, Office of Family Health Services – Specific programs provide leadership, expertise and resources for statewide efforts to support women to have healthy pregnancies and to give children a healthy start in life.
March of Dimes – March of Dimes is a national nonprofit health organization working to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.
First Candle – First Candle is a national nonprofit health organization working to advance infant health and survival with a special focus on the prevention of stillbirth, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other causes of sudden unexpected infant death (SUID).
National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome – The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome is a national nonprofit health organization working to educate and train parents and professionals, and to conduct research that will prevent the shaking and abuse of infants in the United States.
Shaken Baby Syndrome of Virginia – This Virginia-based nonprofit organization was behind House Bill 411 (Jared’s Law), which requires the Virginia Department of Social Services to make available information about shaken baby syndrome, its effects, and resources for help and support for caretakers.