Category Archives: Resources

Working Together for Healthy Families and Healthy Babies

village

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

dv

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.

Healthy Eating Before, During and After Pregnancy

Betty Marrero Public Health Coordinator - Chronic Disease

Healthy Eating Before, During and After Pregnancy

by Betty Marrero

Public Heath Coordinator- Chronic Disease

Shelby County Health Department

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout pregnancy, as well as before and after, is key for both baby and mother. A healthy pregnancy actually begins before you become pregnant. It’s important to know how health conditions and risk factors can affect you or your unborn baby if you become pregnant. For example, some foods, habits, and medicines can harm your baby — even before he or she is conceived. Some health problems, such as diabetes, also can affect pregnancy. The five most important things you can do for preconception health are:

  1. Take 400 to 800 micrograms (400 to 800 mcg or 0.4 to 0.8 mg) of folic acid every day if you are planning or capable of pregnancy to lower your risk of some birth defects of the brain and spine, including spina bifida.
  2. Stop smoking and drinking alcohol.
  3. If you have a medical condition, make sure it is under control. Some conditions that can affect pregnancy or be affected by it include asthma, diabetes, oral health, obesity, or epilepsy.
  4. Talk to your doctor about any over-the-counter and prescription medicines you are using. These include dietary or herbal supplements.
  5. Avoid contact with toxic substances or materials that could cause infection at work and at home. Stay away from chemicals and cat or rodent feces.

Important steps to a healthy pregnancy include eating a balanced diet; gaining the right amount of weight; enjoying regular physical activity; taking a vitamin and mineral supplement if recommended by a physician; and avoiding alcohol, tobacco and other harmful substances.

When you’re pregnant, what you eat and drink is the main source of nourishment for your baby. Eating well during pregnancy is more than simply increasing how much you eat. You must also consider what you eat.

A healthy diet includes proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and plenty of water. The U.S. government publishes dietary guidelines that can help you determine how many servings of each kind of food to eat every day.

Scientists know that your diet can affect your baby’s health — even before you become pregnant. For example, recent research shows that folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects (including spina bifida) from occurring during the earliest stages of fetal development — so it’s important to consume plenty of it before you become pregnant and during the early weeks of your pregnancy.

Even though many foods, particularly breakfast cereals, are fortified with folic acid, doctors now encourage women to take folic acid supplements before and throughout pregnancy (especially for the first 28 days).

Calcium is another important nutrient. Because your growing baby’s calcium demands are high, you should increase your calcium consumption to prevent a loss of calcium from your own bones. Your best food sources of calcium are milk and other dairy products. However, if you have lactose intolerance or dislike milk and milk products, ask your doctor about a calcium supplement.

No level of alcohol consumption is considered safe during pregnancy. And although many doctors feel that one or two 6- to 8-ounce cups per day of coffee, tea, or soda with caffeine won’t harm your baby, it’s probably wise to avoid caffeine altogether if you can. High caffeine consumption has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and other problems, so limit your intake or switch to decaffeinated products.

Fish and shellfish can be a healthy part of your pregnancy diet because they contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids and are high in protein and low in saturated fat. Some types of fish contain high levels of mercury, which can cause damage to the developing nervous system of a fetus. Almost all fish and shellfish contain small amounts of mercury, but you can safely eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury, such as salmon, shrimp, clams, Pollock, catfish, and tilapia.

As a new mom, or even if this is your second or third child, you’ll need plenty of energy to take care of baby. Choosing the right foods — fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and dairy — is especially important if you are breast-feeding. To ensure adequate milk supply, you’ll need to meet your energy needs and include essential nutrients in your diet. For most post-partum women, calorie intake should be in the 1,800 to 2,200 range with an extra 300 to 400 calories more per day while lactating, depending on how much milk the mother is producing.

6 Tips for Mom’s Healthy Meal Plan

  • Don’t skip meals.
  • Drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water. If breast-feeding, get into the habit of filling a tall glass of water to keep with you all day.
  • You need 1,000 milligrams of calcium daily. You can get this easily by consuming three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy throughout the day.
  • Consume at least 2 cups of fruits and 2½ cups of vegetables.
  • Include protein at each meal.

For more information, follow these links:

http://www.familydoctor.org

http://www.womenshealth.gov

http://www.usda.gov

http://www.medplus.com

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

Why the Flu Vaccine?

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.

For additional information, contact the SCHD Immunization Program at (901) 222-9329

Three Tips for Moms-To-Be

Alicia_AStepAhead

THREE TIPS FOR MOMS-TO-BE

By: Alicia Anderson

A Step Ahead Foundation

Pregnancy Nutrition Tip

If you are pregnant or might get pregnant soon, start taking folic acid (Vitamin B) to reduce the risk of birth defects.  In addition to folic acid supplements or prenatal vitamins, stock up on orange juice, fortified cereals, grapefruit, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, lentils, and peas – all great sources of folic acid.

Baby Safety Tip

Take a CPR class for your baby and invite baby’s other caregivers.  Classes are offered all over the Memphis area at different times and days of the week. 

The Red Cross

http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/program-highlights/cpr-first-aid

Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown

http://www.methodisthealth.org/healthcare-services/classes/

Baptist Women’s Hospital

http://www.baptistonline.org/womens/services/maternity/birthing-classes/

Two Nurses & A Manikin

http://www.twonursemanikin.com/

Restart the Heart CPR

http://restarttheheartcpr.com/Courses_Offered.html

Heartbeat CPR

http://www.heartbeat-cpr.com/HB.html

YMCA

http://www.ymcamemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2014-CPR-Registration-Sheet.pdf

Family Planning Tip

Doctors recommend waiting a minimum of at least 18-23 months between pregnancies (the most recent birth and the beginning of the next pregnancy) to increase the chance that the baby is born healthy.  How long you wait is up to you, but if you aren’t ready for another bundle of joy right away, consider getting on a highly effective method of birth control that is long-lasting but not permanent.  These methods are perfect for new moms (or any busy woman) because you don’t have to remember to do anything such as taking a pill every day.  Unlike some other methods, they are safe to use while breastfeeding, which provides your baby with so many benefits.  Call A Step Ahead Foundation at (901) 320-STEP to get an appointment for this FREE birth control.

There are many other things to consider regarding nutrition during pregnancy and the safety of your new baby.  These are just a few helpful tips.  This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, see a medical professional as soon as possible.