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Your Health Before & Between Pregnancies

3 nurses of Nurse-Family Partnership in Detroit give us the 4-1-1 about how to prepare yourself before and between pregnancies.

KIM: All right, so I’m Kim. This is Lanette and Amy. We’re from Nurse-Family Partnership. Let’s start of by talking about what factors contribute to the high infant mortality rate in Detroit.

AMY: Well let’s start off with education. Education is very, very important. I can’t stress that enough. Having your high school diploma or your GED will get you a lot further with taking care of a baby because you have the knowledge and the resources. Some other factors could be income. Babies are very, very expensive. Going to and from the doctor’s office, if the baby is seek. You know you need to stimulate the baby. Buy toys, things like that. Provide the baby with food or breast milk and formula. Another factor would be safe sleep practices. We really want the babies to sleep in a bassinet or a crib. Sleeping with mom and dad isn’t a good thing. The bed is too soft, and the babies could get caught underneath the covers and eventually suffocate. We definitely don’t want that.

LANETTE: And yes those facts are so important, but that prenatal care is so important. We have to get our moms in there to the doctors so that they can have their health monitored, their blood pressure — that also ensures that they also have a better chance of having a healthy baby, you know what I mean? Also, where you live in Detroit, unfortunately we have a lack of good grocery stores. Our moms need to be able to get good groceries, and fresh veggies and fruits and that’s really lacking. And all of those factors really contribute to the high infant mortality rate that we’re experiencing here in Detroit.

KIM: That’s false! So actually we need to start planning for pregnancy before we get pregnant. Adding things like folic acid to our diet is really critical to growth and development of babies. As well as starting to practice more health habits. So eating a great diet, getting regular exercise… Amy is there some things you can think of?

AMY: You know Kim I think you had some really great points: exercise, eating healthy, going to your regular doctor’s check ups, drinking lots and lots of water that’s always a good thing. Maybe even asking your doctor about starting prenatal vitamins before you’re thinking about becoming pregnant. Those are all really good thing I think you can do.

LANETTE: What about your stress management? You make sure the stress in managed, and you develop good coping skills. You know, life gets a little rough sometimes, so you want to make sure you’re really taking care of yourself.

AMY: Take time out for yourself. That’s the most important thin you could do to make sure you’re healthy.

KIM: That’ll also be critical in parenting for an infant, a newborn. Sometimes that can be really stressful in itself. Learning how to cope prior to becoming a parent will definitely help you to learn how to manage taking care of that baby.

AMY: So ladies, could you maybe tell me, what are some resources in our neighborhood here that can help women have healthier babies?

KIM: I’m thinking right away about programs like 1-800-QUIT-NOW, where pregnant moms that are smoking or women that are smoking and want to get pregnant can call in find ways where they can quit smoking. It’s simple, all you have to do is dial 1-800-QUIT-NOW. I’m also thinking about other programs in the community like the WIN Network where women get together and talk about some of the things they can do to have healthier pregnancies and to raise healthy babies.

LANETTE: I’m thinking about Gleaners Community Food Bank. Sometimes families find themselves short of food at the end of the month. They can contact Gleaners to get some healthy food on their tables. Also, there’s Nurse-Family Partnership, which we’re a part of, we’re a home visiting nurse program where we’re actually out in the communities working with the first time mom, giving them resources and education. We’re really really working towards the goal of all of these organizations to reduce that  high infant mortality rate that we have here in Detroit.

AMY: Those were some really great resources that you mentioned. I know for a fact these resources are on the WIN Network website, as well as many others. The website is WINnetworkDetroit.org.

LANETTE: You know I’m going to tell my friends about that!

KIM: Definitely we’ll be telling our clients, and people that are thinking about becoming pregnant.

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