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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


It takes the entire community to continue making progress.


Infections during Pregnancy

February is International Prenatal Infection Prevention Month. No one ever wants to acquire any kind of infection, but pregnant women especially want to avoid infection in order to protect themselves and their babies.

One of the more common infections in pregnancy is Group B Strep. Up to 25% of pregnant women may have it. Pregnant women are tested for it during their routine prenatal care between 35 and 37 weeks gestation. In pregnancies with a positive result, antibiotics are given during labor to prevent spread of the infection. It is important for everyone to be tested for Group B Strep during each pregnancy.

Many people have heard that pregnant women should avoid certain soft cheeses, some deli meats, and other foods. This is due to the risk of listeriosis, another infection that can occur in pregnancy. Foods that are contaminated by the bacteria listeria can cause listeriosis. These foods may include those mentioned above as well as hot dogs, sprouts (bean sprouts, for example), and unrefrigerated melon. For more information on listeriosis prevention and high risk foods, check the CDC website.

Most recently, Zika Virus has been a concern for pregnant women due to its potentially causing many problems during pregnancy and for babies. The best ways to protect oneself from Zika is to avoid areas where it is common (many Central and South American and Caribbean countries), to avoid exposure to mosquitoes, and to practice safe sex with any partner who could have been exposed to Zika.

For more information on Prenatal Infections, click here!

Working Together for Healthy Families and Healthy Babies


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.”

Make Healthy Choices to Prevent Birth Defects!

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Not all birth defects can be prevented, but by making healthy choices, moms can help ensure better health outcomes for their babies.

Many families hear about the importance of folic acid. Folic acid is a B vitamin that can help prevent certain birth defects affecting the brain and spine such as anencephaly and spina bifida. Pregnant women should get at least 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, which can come from fortified foods or supplements, or a combination of the two, in addition to a varied diet rich in folate. These foods include leafy green vegetables, beans, peas, and nuts, among other foods.

Pregnant mothers should avoid using drugs and alcohol during pregnancy. Certain drugs can increase the chance of babies being born preterm and can also increase the chance that a baby is born with a birth defect. Alcohol use can increase the risk of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). No amount of drugs or alcohol have been deemed safe during pregnancy, so the safest and best option is to avoid them completely.

Infection prevention is very important in preventing birth defects. Pregnant moms should avoid contact with people who have infections. They should always wash their hands prior to eating or preparing food or after handling any items that could cause illness or infection. They should also make sure that any meat they consume is fully cooked.

Frequent follow-up with a healthcare provider is another important way for moms to ensure a healthy outcome for their baby. Seeing an OBGYN regularly can help help moms and their families know how the fetus is developing and if there are any health concerns. Of course, moms should always express any issues to their healthcare provider.