The Importance of Birth Spacing

A Step Ahead Foundation

It is a tragedy every time a baby dies, and Shelby County has a tragically high rate of infant mortality. However, Healthy Shelby and the Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative, with the partnership of many community organizations, have already helped to lower that rate. One way to decrease this rate is to space pregnancies at least 18 months to 24 months.

Birth intervals of less than 18 months are significantly associated with babies who are small-for-gestational-age, premature, or do not live to see their first birthday. According to the March of Dimes, more than 50% of infant mortality is due to VLBW (very low birth weight). For this reason, doctors recommend women wait at least 18 to 24 months between pregnancies, both for the mom’s health to allow her body to recover and for the health of future babies.

A Step Ahead Foundation provides the most effective birth control methods free of charge to any woman in Shelby County, thus helping her space her babies safely and effectively. A Step Ahead Foundation (ASAF) works with 19 clinics in the Memphis area, including Shelby County Health Department clinics, and provides each woman with a free well-woman exam, STI test, and the birth control method of her choice. The methods offered are the Paragard IUD, Mirena IUD, and the Nexplanon implant. IUDs are the most popular form of birth control female health providers choose for themselves and all three methods are safe to use while breastfeeding. To make an appointment, call (901) 320-STEP(7837) or visit www.astepaheadfoundation.org for more information.

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