Pregnancy and Exercise

Did you know that women who exercise regularly before pregnancy should be able to maintain their exercise routine to a certain degree during pregnancy?  Exercise does not increase the risk of a miscarriage. However, for women who plan to exercise during pregnancy should consult with their healthcare provider to discuss limitations of the types of exercise they should avoid.  Here are 12 exercise guidelines when pregnant:

  1. If you are just starting to exercise to improve one’s health during pregnancy, you start slow and don’t over exert yourself.
  2. Listen to the signals your body is spending,
  3. Never exercise to feel exhausted or shortness of breath.
  4. Wear shoes that provide comfort, strong ankle, and arch support.
  5. Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of fluids.
  6. Avoid exercising in extremely hot weather.
  7. Avoid rocky and/or unstable ground when running or cycling.
  8. Do not participate in contact sports.
  9. Weight training should focus on toning.
  10. Avoid exercise that involves lying flat on back during the second and third trimesters.
  11. Incorporated relaxation and stretching before and after you exercise.
  12. Maintain a healthy diet including fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates.

Birth Spacing

What is birth spacing? Birth spacing is the act of waiting between pregnancies.  Women should wait at least 18 months before getting pregnant again to maintain the best health for her body and children.  The 18 month period is also referred to as birth spacing.  With pregnancies that occur less than 18 months, the body may not be ready to have a heathy baby.

When women do not wait at least 18 months between pregnancies, they increase their risk of a premature birth and low birth weight. Premature birth and low birth weight can increase the health risk for both mother and child. Also, premature birth and low birth weight are associated with infant mortality and short and long term complications.

Birth spacing can be accomplished by utilizing methods such as birth control, practice abstinence during ovulation, and use condoms.


Delaware Health and Social Services (2011). Birth Spacing.        Retrieved from


The Importance of Folic Acid

Folic Acid plays a vital role before and during pregnancy.  Folic acid is a form of folate which is a B vitamin. Everyone needs folic acid. Vitamins and fortified foods (bread, pasta, and cereals) contain folic acid.  Also, folate is found naturally in leafy green vegetables, oranges, and beans.

All women need 400 micrograms of folic acid every day. Pregnant women should intake 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid. No one should get more than 1,000 micrograms of folic acid a day unless prescribed by a physician.  Obtaining too much folic acid can hide signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency, which can cause nerve damage.

African American and Mexican American women are at a higher risk of not getting enough folic acid each day. Folic acid protects unborn babies against severe congenital disabilities called neural tube defects.  Congenital disabilities usually occur within the first weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman knows she’s pregnant. Folic acid aids in the prevention of other congenital disabilities and miscarriages. Also, not getting enough folic acid can cause a woman to develop anemia also referred to as folate deficiency anemia.

Remember to get at least 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid daily before, during, and after pregnancy.


Office of Women’s Health, U.S Department of Health and Human Services (2017). Folic Acid. Retrieved from



Being a parent changes a teens’ life forever. About 750,000 teens become parents every year. Ninety percent of these are unplanned. Many teens are not ready  financially, mentally or physically. This may be because they’re still growing up themselves. Teenagers may be unsure where to get help or feel confident in discussing sudden changes in their lives.  As a teen parent , you face special challenges.  These may center around:  (1) Dealing with family and friends reactions. (2) Will they support you, be angry or disappointed. (3) Consider how you will raise a child (4) Will the mother and father share equal responsibilities. (4) You will need to be unselfish and prepare for another life. (5) Financial  problems may become a burden. A teenager can learn ways to deal with these challenges.   A responsible  teen parent can be successful. Success starts with  good prenatal care and eating healthy. Avoid harmful habits i.e. Smoking, using drugs or alcohol.  The expectant father can help by encouraging prenatal care and avoiding the same harmful habits as mom. Once the baby is born, keep your baby safe and healthy. Use approved Car seat safety and a safety strap. Breast feeding is recommended for the healthiest outcome of a newborn. Skin to Skin contact is essential. It’s important to bond, talk to and hold your baby.                            Teen pregnancy can bring on lots of stress. Find someone you trust to watch your baby –“Take a break!” Attend  to your emotional needs. Teen parents may have had goals for their lives. Once baby’s caregiving needs are secured. These goals can be attained.  Some may include completing their education, marriage and obtaining  gainful employment .      Parenthood may be the biggest change in life you will ever make.  Face the responsibilities– and enjoy the Rewards!

A “Loving Moment” to Engage Dads


I wonder how much do you know about the characteristics of first time dads/fathers. How does age factor into equation? Take short quiz to see how much you know about first-time dads/fathers. Write down your answers. You can find the correct answers at the end of this post

  1. What is the average age for first-time dads? a.                                                            a. 25.3
    b. 26.0
    c. 26.7
    d. 27.8
    e. 28.2


  1. The average age of first-time dads has risen steadily, while the average age for first-time moms has fallen recently.                                                                                  a. True                                                                                                                                              b. False


  1. Compared to men who are married when they become first-time dads, how much younger (rounded to the nearest whole number) are men who are single when they become first-time dads?                                                                                      a. 5
    b. 6
    c. 8
    d. 9
    e. 10


  1. Compared to men who have at least a bachelor’s degree when they become first-time dads, how much younger (rounded to the nearest whole number) are men who never graduated high school when they become first-time dads?        a. 4
    b. 5
    c. 6
    d. 7
    e. 8


I asked you to take that quiz to focus your attention on the “Golden Moment” to engage dads/fathers—the time before and immediately after a child’s birth. Dads and moms, including those, who are not married, are most highly motivated for the dad to be involved in their children’s lives during the prenatal and immediate postnatal period.

Countering resistance to dad’s involvement—whether on the part of dad or mom—is like pushing a boulder up a hill. In some cases, it can be impossible to overcome. In other cases, it can be overcome, but not without a lot of work and help from others to reach the other side of the hill.

Resistance is lowest during the Golden Moment. In some cases, it’s nonexistent because couples open their hearts as they anticipate and welcome their newborn. That’s why the use of tactics to reach dads during this time—such as through OB/GYNs, pediatricians, hospitals, birthing and pregnancy centers, and home visiting programs for new parents—prove so effective in the short and long term. Indeed, the long-term impact expands our understanding of why this moment is golden. When you connect a dad during this time, you increase the chance he’ll stay involved for the long haul.

To effectively reach dads during this time, arm yourself with research-based and evidence-informed tools that increase pro-fathering knowledge, attitudes, and skills.

Correct answers to the quiz: 1. (d) 2. (a) 3. (c) 4. (d)



Promoting A Healthy Pregnancy

Plan Ahead

Living healthy now means a better chance of a healthy pregnancy and baby later on. Pregnancy can happen even when precautions are practiced. You may be pregnant for weeks whether you planned for it. During that time, your choices can affect your baby’s health and development.

Set Personal Goals for Having /Not Having Kids

  • Discuss goals w/ partner
  • Next, talk with your health care provider
  • Take steps to avoid an unplanned pregnancy
  • At least 24 months between each pregnancy may be healthier for you
  • Begin preparing for a healthy pregnancy 3 months before getting pregnant
  • Eat right and Exercise Regularly
  • In general at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week.
  • Talk w/ your health care provider before starting an exercise regimen
  • Folic acid and folate in your diet (whole grains, leafy greens, beans and citrus fruit
  • These suggestions recommended before, during and after pregnancy.
  • This practice can help prevent birth defects Stress, Anxiety and Depression all have negative effect on a pregnancy
  • Stress can cause headaches and trouble sleeping
  • Emotional Health
  • High Stress may cause premature birth or low birth weight
  • Depression before and after pregnancy can make self-care difficult for mom
  • Symptoms vary -Loss of interest in daily routine, hopelessness, sadness and irritability.
  • Depression can be treated successfully even during pregnancy
  • Anxiety
  • Anxiety disorders can worsen during and after pregnancy.
  • High levels of anxiety can lead to premature birth and bonding issues.
  • Inability to control your worry should be shared w/ health care provider
  • Treatment or therapy can help

Hazards to Avoid

  • Pregnant women can give lead poisoning to their babies If you suspect lead in your home, have paint, water and soil tested.


    • Avoid contact w/ paint, harsh cleaners, pesticides and solvents
    • Consult w/ health care provider for advice and reducing risks with radiation
  • Cat Feces are harmful to unborn baby


  • Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs which restrict oxygen and nourishment to your baby during and after pregnancy
  • Get Help If You Need It

If you need help in stop using tobacco, alcohol or other drugs, consult your health care provider or Center for Substance Abuse Treatment’s Referral Service @ 1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357).

HUGS? Have you Had YOUR ((HUG)) today?

Have you had your HUG today?

As we know there are many different kinds of hugs ranging from the polite hug to the never-ending rocking side to side embrace hug. And just as there are so many ways to hug there are endless reasons why hugs are wanted and needed. Today I want to share HUGS with you!

What is HUGS?

HUGS is                an Acronym which stands for Help Us Grow Successfully. HUGS is a home-based care coordination program developed by the Tennessee Department of Health. Home visitation provides a way to help to decrease infant mortality. The Shelby County Health Department HUGS program provides assessment of family needs, assistance to seek solutions for these needs, and also includes client centered education.

In an effort to reduce the infant mortality rate one of the specific focus areas for the HUGS program is educating families on the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by providing a safe sleep environment for infants.

Who qualifies for these services?

  • Families living in Memphis and Shelby county
  • Prenatal/postpartum women
  • children through 5 years of age
  • Parent/guardian of the client referred to the program.
  • Families who have experienced the loss of a child less than 2 years old (due SIDS, prematurity, ETC) – grief counseling is provided…

How does the HUGS program help a family?

A health care professional is assigned to each family. These services are provided at no cost to the families. The care coordinator encourages a healthy pregnancy to promote positive birth outcomes. Families are assisted in accessing health care and other social and educational services. Attention is placed on enhancing family strengths. Education is provided regarding pregnancy, growth, development, and parenting education. Emphasis is placed on SIDS counseling and ways to decrease the risk of SIDS.

Who can I contact if I am interested in the program or to make a referral to HUGS?

Linda Busby, RN

HUGS Supervisor

Phone: 901-222-9703

Fax:  901-222-7976