Tag Archives: birth control

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.


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.

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


Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown


Baptist Women’s Hospital


Two Nurses & A Manikin


Restart the Heart CPR


Heartbeat CPR




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.

Lifting Health through Collaboration

A Step Ahead Foundation

Lifting Health through Collaboration

By: Kellie Spilman, MPH

A Step Ahead Foundation

“In a country as great as this one, a child’s zip code should never be what determines his or her opportunity,”

– Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz

Memphis has been called many things. Home of the blues, birthplace of rock and roll, grind city — all nicknames we’re proud to put on display to any non-Memphian who dares speak ill about our beloved town. Exciting new developments, successful basketball teams, and a growing food culture have led our city to a boom in Memphis pride. We’re happy to embrace that pride — and we should. We have a lot of reasons to be proud.

We can’t let that pride in our culture blind us to an area where we tragically need improvement: our health. Memphis has been called the least healthy city in America — and for good reason. Our city falls within the bottom five American metro areas for indicators in infant mortality, diabetes, obesity, homicide, illegal drug use, heart disease, sexually transmitted infections, and HIV. Close to half of the children in Memphis are living in poverty, and rates of asthma, obesity, teenage pregnancy, and gang involvement for these children are significantly higher than their more fortunate peers.

In order to improve the health of all of our residents, we need to start from day one. Infant mortality is a tragedy no one can ignore. Infant health is connected to educational, health, and economic outcomes later in life. We need to band together to take care of our most vulnerable fellow Memphians — and there are ways we can do this that are proven to make an impact. We need to start by providing women with the tools they need to plan their children: babies born from an unplanned or teenage pregnancy are at higher risk. We need to help families access education about infant nutrition and best practices. We need to make sure parents have a way to access medical care for their families so that they can work with their doctor to determine the best plan to keep their families healthy.

Thankfully we have organizations in Memphis that can help with all of these things – and they deserve our pride just as much as our restaurants and sports teams. So let’s cheer for March of Dimes and the Early Success Coalition, organizations working to improve the health and lives of our babies. Let’s tell all of our friends about A Step Ahead Foundation, which provides free birth control to any woman in Shelby County (and not just any birth control, the most effective, top of the line birth control – IUDs and implants). Let’s celebrate our amazing network of community clinics who are providing care to our most vulnerable citizens. These organizations are something to be proud of, and as we help lift Memphis up, let’s not forget our most valuable assets.

Set Your Mind. Set Your Goals

Choices logo

Creating a Reproductive Life Plan

By: Katy Leopard

Choices. Memphis Center  of  Reproductive Health

Having a plan helps you make important choices in your life. A Reproductive Life Plan is a set of goals you can make about having or not having children. You may change your mind over time – that is ok. A reproductive life plan is important for your personal well-being, whether or not you plan to have children. Planning if and when to have children helps you think about how you want to live your life and achieve your goals. Many pregnancies in Tennessee are unplanned and happen at a time when a woman’s health or social situation is not ideal. Making a reproductive life plan can help ensure that you are healthy and ready if you choose to get pregnant. If you don’t have a plan to prevent pregnancy, you have a plan to get pregnant!

A Reproductive Life Plan takes into account your future goals and dreams for yourself, your physical health, mental health, family and health history, as well as your desire to have children or not. Have you ever thought about what your life will be like in 5 years? How much education would you like to complete? What work would you like to be doing? Do you see yourself in a committed relationship? Being in control of your reproductive life is a key part of making these dreams and goals a reality. Good health habits and working to manage any chronic diseases like diabetes or asthma can affect your future health and your reproductive life goals. Health problems can also come from parents or other relatives. If you know the health background of your family, you’re a step ahead in understanding problems that could affect you, your future and any children you may have. That’s why it is important to know about your past. Finally, emotional wellness means you feel good about yourself, your relationships and your purpose in life. When you are emotionally healthy, you will have fewer lows and be able to bounce back from sad times faster.

At Choices. Memphis Center for Reproductive Health we address the interconnected needs of our patients to prevent, plan, and space future pregnancies by combining patient education and high quality medical care. Choices recognizes that health outcomes are impacted by a multitude of factors. Our feminist perspective views women within the context of relationships, family, and community; and understands that class and race/ethnicity interact with gender to provide different outcomes for women of all ages. At Choices we encourage women to take control of their reproductive lives and to develop a reproductive life plan to prevent and/or plan and space future pregnancies. Attached is a booklet to help you think through your goals and make a Reproductive Life Plan. For preconception health care contact Choices 901-274-3550.

Clearing Pathways and Removing Barriers


Clearing Pathways and Removing Barriers- Why LARCs work!!

Alicia Anderson

Community Outreach Coordinator

A Step Ahead Foundation

Half of all pregnancies in the United States each year are unintended.  That’s 3 million unintended pregnancies each year.  Many people use birth control, so why do we still have this problem?  Birth control – and birth control users – are not perfect.  40% of unintended pregnancies are the results of contraception failures.  For example, the birth control pill has a 9% failure rate in real world use which doubles for women under 21 and triples for at-risk women.  Many women don’t have access to the most effective birth control methods, can’t afford it, or don’t have the knowledge of how it works or how to use it properly, or some combination of these factors.  In response, A Step Ahead Foundation was founded to provide free, highly effective birth control to all women of reproductive age in Memphis, regardless of income or insurance status

These highly effective methods – the kinds that female OBGYNs and other health providers most often choose for themselves – are called LARC (Long-Acting, Reversible Contraception).  LARC options include 2 types of IUDs and a subdermal implant, and they are 20 times more effective than the pill, patch, and ring.  Research tells us that when women know about these methods and they are available at no cost, they are overwhelmingly popular.  The CHOICE Project with Washington University Medical School offered over 9,000 women education and access to all birth control methods at no cost.  With knowledge and cost barriers removed, 75% of CHOICE participants chose LARC methods.

If these methods are so great, why aren’t more women using them?  Because of the knowledge, access, and cost barriers that are present everywhere outside of programs like The CHOICE Project or A Step Ahead Foundation.  In Shelby County LARC methods are available at our 19 partner clinics at no cost.  Each of our clients receives the LARC method of her choosing, in consultation with the doctor, a well-woman exam, and a cab ride to and from the clinic if she needs it.  There is no cost to the patient for any of these services.  A woman who calls for an appointment is guaranteed one within a week, although she typically can get an appointment within a few days of calling.

By allowing women to wait to start their families or space out their pregnancies to best suit their families their pathways to education, work, and financial stability have one less barrier.  If you are interested in free, highly effective birth control call (901) 320-STEP for an appointment or visit www.astepaheadfoundation.org for more information.

My Tooth Hurts!

Claudia Haltom ASAF

By: Claudia Haltom


When I was pregnant with my first child, my tooth started hurting. It was a terrible tooth ache. My dentist told me that my body needed more calcium to build the baby and it was drawing off of bones and teeth. But, I could not have an x-ray because of the pregnancy and they wanted to limit the drugs they gave me. It was awful. I had to have a root canal.

I waited three years to have my next child. During those three years I took lots of calcium supplements, ate lots of yogurt and kept my teeth and my bones healthy. During the second pregnancy, my teeth were fine and my baby boy was a rough tumbler who never broke a bone in childhood!

I got ready to have a baby, planned him and spaced him. The first one was out of diapers before the second one came along. I was rested and a lot less stressed. 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 works with 19 clinics in the Memphis area, including Shelby County Health Department clinics, providing women with a free well-woman exam, STI test, and the birth control method of her choosing. The methods offered are the Paragard IUD, Mirena IUD, and the Nexplanon implant. IUDs are the most popular form of birth control that 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.