Category Archives: Community

Working Together for Healthy Families and Healthy Babies

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By Juanita White, Community Building Manager
Binghampton Development Corporation

I have the honor of belonging to a special group of women of all ages who get together at various times throughout the year. We make up reasons to get together but we really do it because we grew to enjoy each other’s company over the year. We like to get together and do “women things” and talk “women talk.”

One of the women revealed to us about three years ago that she had a miscarriage. She told us months after the incident so that we wouldn’t make a big deal out of it. That would make her sad, she told us, and we respected that. She lost the baby early in her pregnancy but as any woman who has ever been pregnant knows, loss hurts and loss of a baby, your own flesh and blood, hurts worse than anything. So we understood that she and her husband wanted to bear that pain in private, away from questioning, though caring, friends.

We had a luncheon together in late 2014 to celebrate the 50th birthday of one of the women in the group. We were all in high spirits, having a grand old time. Our friend, “Gloria” I’ll call her though that is not her name, joined us. Gloria celebrated with us but she was not her usual self. Oh yes, she laughed at the over-the-hill jokes and the gag gifts but those big, light brown doe eyes seemed a little sad to some of us. Nobody pried; we respect each other’s privacy. We sensed that something was wrong but assumed she was still grieving the loss and maybe getting pregnant was difficult. We didn’t know. We didn’t ask.

One day Gloria’s sister, a friend of mine, told me that Gloria did indeed get pregnant again but lost that child too. I was heartbroken; I know how much she wants to be a mother. Her sisters have children and she, being the youngest, wanted to start a family too. Gloria is young – 32 – so she was in her late 20’s when her body started betraying her, giving her false hopes of motherhood, only to snatch her dreams away.

There was some reason to be hopeful, her sister told me. Gloria and her gynecologist worked together to determine the root cause of the problem. Gloria has a small medical issue that would not keep her from carrying a child to term but they needed to find the right medical interventions to help her carry the baby to term. The doctor did some research, found another doctor to collaborate with her on Gloria’s particular issue, and decided upon a plan. Gloria was generally healthy-she ate right, drank a little, not too much, exercised a bit. (Hey, who can hit the gym five days a week? Well, great for you but….) Anyway, together the three formed a team and determined to see Gloria become a mother one day.

Long story short: Gloria and her husband became parents of a 7 lb. healthy baby boy in early 2016.  We hosted the “bluest” baby shower in Memphis and named ourselves  “The Godmothers.”

The story here is that healthy women have healthy babies. Doctors who work with their patients can help women prepare for a healthy full term birth. Good health care is important. Birth spacing matters.  Being stress-free is a MUST. Having supportive family and friends means everything.   In the end “A Healthy Pregnancy= A Healthy Baby.”

October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the staffs of Shelby County’s Crime Victims Center (CVC) and Family Safety Center of Memphis and Shelby County (FSC), co-located in midtown Memphis, want to prevent domestic violence through free programs and tours.

“We have a number of resources available at no cost. Domestic Violence continues to be one of the top crimes addressed by police officers and sheriff’s deputies each day throughout Shelby County,” said Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell, Jr. Domestic violence accounts for 56% of local violent crime. Last year, counselors at the Shelby County Crime Victims Center met in person with more than 800 non-intimate partner domestic violence victims of all ages. The Family Safety Center staff serves an average of 2,400 victims of intimate partner violence each year. The center is located at 1750 Madison Avenue.

“We want citizens to know the warning signs of domestic violence and immediately contact a law enforcement agency should they feel threatened,” said Anna Whalley, Administrator of the Shelby County Crime Victims Center. It’s one of 31 agencies that coordinate criminal, civil, social, and assistance services with the Family Safety Center, located in the same building as the crime victims center.

“This is a one-stop location for crime victims and their families,” said Executive Director Olliette Murry-Drobot. “The Family Safety Center provides victims of intimate partner domestic violence additional resources and helps ensure there’s a coordinated response by all agencies,” added Ms. Drobot.

Also during October, staff from the Shelby County Crime Victims Center and Family Safety Center can visit churches and community groups. To schedule a program or tour, call (901) 222-4400.

Go to www.familysafetycenter.org for a list of Family Safety Center services, including the
warning signs of domestic violence.

What’s Your Story?

what is your story question in vintage wooden letterpress printing blocks, stained by color inks, isolated on white

Do you have a story you’d like to share about the importance of prenatal care? Have you been involved in a successful program and want to share your story? Do you belong to an organization in Shelby County that could benefit others to ensure their baby is healthy? We are looking for personal stories for the IMRI blog, and we’d like to feature you as a guest blogger! Send an email to ShelbycountyIMRI@gmail.com and someone from our team will be in contact with you.

Effective February 15, 2016, flu vaccine is now FREE at all Shelby County Health Department clinics

Shirley Jewell

Why the Flu Vaccine?

By: Shirley A. Jewell, BSN, RN

Shelby County Health Department (SCHD) Immunization Program

(901) 222-9329

People have numerous questions concerning the flu and the need to be vaccinated. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older receive a flu vaccine every year, including pregnant women. According to CDC guidelines, it is recommended that pregnant women get a flu shot during any trimester of their pregnancy to protect themselves and their unborn child. Contrary to popular belief, you cannot get the flu from the flu vaccine. Below are some important questions and answers about the flu.

What is the flu?

The “flu” is a short name for influenza. It is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs. The infection is caused by a virus. In the United States “flu season” can begin as early as October and last as long as May. It is highly recommended that you get vaccinated against the flu by October, if not as soon as possible.

How is the flu spread?

The flu is contagious. It spreads mainly when people sneeze or cough and droplets land in the mouth of people close by. Also you can get the flu if an object such as toys, doorknobs or used tissue has the virus on it and the person touches their eyes, nose or mouth after touching these objects.

A person can spread the flu to others 1 day before he or she is sick and as long as 5 to 7 days after becoming ill. Children and people who are very sick can spread the flu longer than 7 days after getting sick.

Is the flu serious?

The flu can be mild to serious. It can even lead to death. Anyone can become very sick from the flu but it is most dangerous for babies, young children, pregnant women and people 65 years and older. Also the flu can be serious for those with long term health problems such as asthma, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

Flu symptoms can be different depending on age.

The symptoms may include:

  • fever ( everyone may not have a fever with the flu)
  • chills
  • muscle aches
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • tiredness
  • cough
  • runny or stuffy nose

There may be vomiting and diarrhea in children

What can I do to protect myself and others from the flu?

The flu vaccine is the best protection against the flu. It protects not only you, but others from getting the flu.

Others ways to protect against the flu, along with the flu shot includes:

  • Cough or sneeze into the sleeve of your shirt or a tissue. Throw the used tissue away.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay away from people that are sick as much as possible
  • If you have the flu, stay at home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, without the use of fever medicine such as Tylenol. Leave your home only for emergencies and to get medical care.

Decrease Your Risk of Preterm Birth

TDH

Decrease Your Risk of Preterm Birth

By

Rachel Heitman

Director of Injury Prevention, Infant Mortality Reduction and Death Review

Tennessee Department of Health

Did you know that 1 in 10 babies are born too early in Tennessee? In Memphis, 13.7% of all babies are born prematurely or before 37 weeks gestation. Preterm birth is one of the leading causes of infant mortality. When a baby is born prematurely, he/she might need special care in the hospital. The baby is also at risk for life long disabilities or death. Some steps that you can take to reduce your risk and improve your overall health when pregnant include:

1. Avoid alcohol and illicit drug use.

There is no safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy. Alcohol can affect the fetus throughout pregnancy. It is best not to drink at all while you are pregnant. If you did drink alcohol before you knew you were pregnant, you can reduce the risk of further harm to the baby by stopping drinking.
Illicit drug use includes use of any illegal drugs in addition to the use of prescription drugs for a nonmedical reason. Drug use can interfere with the growth of the fetus and cause preterm birth and fetal death.

2. If you smoke, STOP.

Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals. When you smoke during pregnancy, those chemicals build up in your blood stream, which is the source of oxygen and nutrients for your baby. If you need help with quitting, call the quit line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

3. Get early prenatal care and attend all of your scheduled appointments.

Some of the largest risk factors for premature birth include high blood pressure, infections, abnormal uterus or cervix, and stress. By going to your provider early and often, these types of conditions can be tracked and monitored and possibly lead to preventing a preterm birth.
4. Learn the signs and symptoms of preterm labor.

The signs of preterm labor include pain in the belly, painful urination, decreased movement from the baby, backache, contractions, cramping, leaking fluid, increased abdominal pressure, increased vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, and fever. If you experience any of these symptoms, be sure to check in with your provider.

5. Ask your provider if you are a candidate for 17P.

If you have already had a preterm birth, you might be eligible for a medication called 17P. This medication is a weekly injection starting around the 16th week of pregnancy and continuing until 37 weeks pregnant. There are no known side effects for the baby. This medication has shown to lower the risk of delivering a preterm baby by as much as 33% for women that have had a previous preterm birth. If you would like more information about 17P, please talk to your OB provider.

6. Wait at least 18 months between pregnancies.

Take your time between pregnancies. Another high-risk factor for preterm birth is having less than 18 months between pregnancies. Infants conceived less than 6 months after giving birth have a 40% chance of being born premature. A longer time between pregnancies is important to help your body heal. To prevent pregnancy for at least 18 months, talk with your provider or local health department about birth control options. If you do become pregnant within this period, be sure to get early care from your provider.

7. Manage stress.

Increased stress puts you and your baby at risk for a preterm birth. Figure out what’s making you stressed and talk to your partner, a friend, family member or your health care provider about it.

8. Lead a healthy lifestyle before becoming pregnant.

If you are considering becoming pregnant, start your healthy lifestyle now. This includes exercising, eating healthy, taking a multivitamin, seeing your physician for a check-up, and getting any illnesses or chronic diseases under control
The following links provide more information on prematurity.

http://kidcentraltn.com/article/premature-babies

http://www.marchofdimes.org/premature-babies.aspx

http://www.acog.org/Womens-Health/Preterm-Premature-Labor-and-Birth

Building Relationships, Having Fun and Getting Fit!

Blog_Fit Nation

Written By: Toye L. Bogard,  Fit Nation Inc. Chief Executive Officer

Co-Written By: Jamila Batts, Shelby County Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Team Leader

Fit Nation Inc.

Building relationships, having fun and getting fit. Those are the three core principles practiced by Fit Nation Inc., a community based nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that Toye L. Bogard (Founder and CEO of Fit Nation Inc.) was led by God to start on September 17, 2011, out of a personal desire to help reverse Memphis’ reputation of being one of the fattest cities in the nation. On that day in 2011, Bogard decided to begin his fight against obesity in Memphis by personally making healthier lifestyle changes and organizing his friends and family to participate in ongoing weekend workouts. The response was so great that Bogard had to create 6 teams across Memphis and the surrounding areas in order to service the rapid growth. In addition to creating teams, he incorporated monthly Weigh-Ins at a central location so that the teams could get together, build relationships, and celebrate life!

Fit Nation Inc.’s sole purpose for existing is to enhance the lives of the general public by placing building relationships at the forefront. When healthy relationships are developed, it becomes easier to have fun and get fit. Everything that Fit Nation Inc. does as an organization is centered on tackling obesity and helping individuals to “choose life” 365 days out of the year. Fit Nation Inc. provides free membership , gives members access to workout classes via Skype ($ 5.00 per class) and in person ($3.00 per class) and provides a social media driven fitness support system via Facebook. Currently Fit Nation Inc. has active groups located in cities that include: Memphis, TN, West Memphis, AR and Nashville, TN. The Memphis Fit Nation group has (6) organized teams that cover each community within Memphis and the surrounding Metropolitan area. This gives members the convenience of only having to drive a few blocks from home to participate in team workouts.

Toye Bogard understands that the high rate of obesity in Memphis and the city’s high infant mortality rate go hand in hand. In February of this year, Fit Nation Inc. received grant funding from the March of Dimes’ Program Services Committee to initiate an infant mortality/obesity reduction program known as “Fit 4 Me”. The goal of Fit 4 Me is to help women who are between the ages of 18-44 and have a Body Mass Index (BMI) that is greater than or equal to 25, to reach a healthy weight prior to becoming pregnant. Fit 4 Me participants receive access to a free weekly 60 minute low impact workout class led by a Certified Fitness Trainer (Fit Nation’s CEO Toye Bogard), bimonthly weigh-ins to assess weight, blood pressure, blood glucose, BMI and waist circumference, bimonthly preconceptional /interconceptional health education sessions and ongoing mentoring/coaching surrounding nutrition and physical activity.

For additional information about Fit Nation Inc. please visit the organization’s website at http://www.wearefitnation.com and for additional information about Fit Nation Inc.’s Fit 4 Me program please contact Toye Bogard (toye.bogard1911@gmail.com) or Jamila Batts (JLB_MPH@me.com) via email or at (901) 602-6917

Merry Christmas Baby Community Baby Shower

Merry Christmas Baby shower flyer - Dec 12 2015On Saturday, December 12, 2015, Tennessee State Rep. G.A. Hardaway Sr. will host the Merry Christmas Baby Community Baby Show from 10am to 2pm at Orange Mound Community Center. Part of the fight against infant mortality, this event celebrates our youngest citizens. We expect 150-200 expectant and new mothers and fathers to come out. The registration site for parents and parents-to-be is https://mxb-community-baby-shower.eventbrite.com. The email address for registration is merryxmasbaby901@gmail.com.

Merry Christmas Baby Community Baby Shower
Saturday, December 12, 2015 – 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Orange Mound Community Center
2572 Park Avenue, Memphis, TN 38114