Tag Archives: low birth weight

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.


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

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.

My Love for Babies and Physical Fitness

First Year Logo 3.0

 My Love for Babies and Physical Fitness

By: Gilbert Barnes Carter III – Executive Director / Founder

The First Year Foundation Incorporated

I have always enjoyed having a genuine love for babies.  I had this love even when I was a young child myself.  I enjoyed doting on and playing with babies anywhere.  I would play with them in churches, grocery stores, schools, etc.  I realized in 2005 that this love had grown and manifested well before I had become an adult.  I learned then how high the infant mortality rate was in Shelby County overall.  I can say that infant mortality was the lone social problem that compelled me to continue to live in Memphis at that point in time.  I decided to stay here in order to provide support in the fight against it.

I became very active and engaged between the years 2005 through 2011.  I thought about how I could marry another love of mine, physical fitness, with my love for babies in order to be more effective.  I determined how I could do just that once I joined the planning committee of the Community Action Team (CAT) of the Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Board (FIMR) within the Shelby County Health Department.  The execution of physical fitness by pregnant women was severely lacking here in Shelby County based on the information and statistics within the case studies of infant deaths we reviewed during the Community Action Team meetings.

The 2013 Shelby County Fetal and Infant Mortality Review report also contains more statistics that support the need for the emphasis and execution of fitness, health and wellness, and proper nutrition by women before, during, and after their respective pregnancies.

Obesity was a contributing factor in 21 cases of infant deaths.  These accounted for 38% of the total number of cases within the “Mother’s Medical / OB History” section of the Contributing Factors category.*

Obesity risks education was listed as a recommendation for reducing infant deaths in 25 cases.  These accounted for 45% of the total number of cases within the “Patient / Community Education” section of the Recommendations category.*

The importance of early and consistent prenatal care was listed as a recommendation for reducing infant deaths in 25 cases.  These accounted for 45% of the total number of cases within the “Patient / Community Education” section of the Recommendations category.*

The importance of proper nutrition and weight gain during pregnancy was listed as a recommendation for reducing infant deaths in 38 cases.  These accounted for 69% of the total number of cases within “Patient / Community Education” section of the Recommendations category.*

The importance of being healthy before pregnancy was listed as a recommendation for reducing infant deaths in 47 cases.  These accounted for 85% of the total number of cases within the “Family Planning” section of the Recommendations category.*

I founded The First Year Foundation Incorporated (…formerly known as Legs 4 Life Foundation Incorporated…) on October 26th, 2011.  We designed the “Complete Wellness 4 Mothers” community outreach program in response to learning of the statistics above.  This program is one of four community outreach programs that we will offer.  The emphasis within this program is to provide personal training exclusively for pregnant mothers who are within their first and second trimesters.  The special features of this program are (a.) classes in which healthy cooking and the execution of proper nutrition will be taught, (b.) a shuttle service for pregnant mothers to use, (c.) a walking program for pregnant mothers to participate in, and (d.) yoga classes for pregnant mothers to participate in.  (The pregnant mothers who are referred to us will be asked to submit a signed statement from their respective doctors prior to participating in this program.)

We hope to have a complete launch of the Complete Wellness 4 Mothers community outreach program in February.  We will post updates on our company website and social media pages.

Thank you for everything that you do for our babies!

Website: http://www.thefirstyearfoundationincorporated.org/

Facebook: The First Year Foundation Incorporated – http://www.facebook.com/TheFirstYearFoundationIncorporated?ref=hl

Google Plus: The First Year Foundation Incorporated – https://www.google.com/+TheFirstYearFoundationIncorporatedFirstYear4

Pinterest: The First Year Foundation Incorporated – https://www.pinterest.com/firstyear4/

Twitter: The First Year Fdn. – https://twitter.com/firstyear4  (@firstyear4)

*Source – 2013 Shelby County Fetal and Infant Mortality Review

Birth Spacing Allows You to be Prepared

Vickie Porter

Birth Spacing

By: Vickie Porter, MSN-FNP

Shelby County Health Department Family Planning Clinic


Oh, how wonderful and exciting it is to discover you are pregnant! You begin imagining what he or she will look like.  Will he/she have my eyes or dad’s nose or will he/she reach back into the family tree and get grandma’s green eye color.  Now, let’s fast forward… head in hands, tears flowing as you hear, “you’re pregnant” with child number three, ages 2 years, 10 months and now pregnant!!! This situation is fictional…or is it?

Whether you’re thinking about getting pregnant for the first time or you already have children, it’s important to think about family planning and your reproductive goals.  Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended.   Birth Spacing refers to the time interval from one child’s birth date until the next child’s birth date. There are many factors to consider in determining what is an optimal time interval between pregnancies.  Research has shown there are a number of issues which are more likely to occur when a woman is pregnant again within a year of giving birth. These issues include an increased risk of:

  • Low birth weight
  • Small gestational size
  • Preterm birth
  • Infant death
  • Labor issues such as uterine rupture

Medical professionals recommend new mothers wait at least a full year to have another baby – some even say to wait 2 years! This gives the mothers time to replenish vital nutrients that were lost during child birth and also the recovery time to allow organs to restore back to normal. It can also help ensure that new parents will have the energy and ability to focus on another child.

So, yes it can be exciting to be pregnant and anticipating the birth of a child but it is also a very stressful period of time for the whole family. Speak with your provider of care about a contraceptive method so that you can have a baby when you are physically and emotionally prepared.

Reflections of a Former Teen Statistic

Reflections of a Former Teen Statistic

Written by: C. Denise Richardson, Healthy Shelby Volunteer

Co-Written by: Victoria Williamson, Healthy Shelby Program Coordinator

Twenty-five years ago this fall, young mother C. Denise Richardson put her baby daughter to bed for the last time. The seemingly healthy 10-week-old infant didn’t wake up the next morning.

For Richardson, the baby’s death was a personal heartbreak. For Shelby County, the tragedy contributed to one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country. Despite recent improvements, Shelby County continues to have a high percentage of children who die before their first birthday. In 2013, the rate was 9.2 out of 1000 live births in Shelby County compared to 6.8 in Tennessee and 5.9 in the U.S.

Researchers have determined that one cause of infant mortality is sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS. SIDS can affect any family, no matter the socioeconomic background. Healthy Shelby and the Shelby County Health Department have partnered to lower infant mortality by teaching parents about safe sleep practices to help combat this unexplainable death. Safe sleep is explained using the ABC’s: Babies should sleep ALONE, on their BACKS, and in a CRIB.
When Richardson’s daughter died, infants were often put to sleep on their stomachs. Two years later, the American Academy of Pediatrics began recommending that babies be placed on their backs at naptime and bedtime. Since that recommendation in 1992, the annual SIDS rate has declined more than 50 percent. Richardson shares her story here in hopes that it will help prevent other infant deaths.

“When I enter grocery stores, shopping malls, education institutions, physical fitness facilities, and especially social media sites, I’m reminded of my youthful days. Youthful days full of hope, promise, goals, and, oh yeah…high risk pregnancy. It’s definitely a “hard pill to swallow” witnessing a perpetual cycle of community dysfunction.

When I gave birth to my first child, it wasn’t that uncommon for teenage girls to become pregnant with their first or second child. Some young ladies experienced numerous pregnancies without regard to the high costs, care, and lifestyle changes pregnancy brings on. I remember my mom’s look of heartache once it became clear that her only child was pregnant…again. I was twenty-one and pregnant with my second child. No prenatal care with the first pregnancy, and that child was born at twenty-seven weeks weighing 2 pounds 3 ounces. Happily, that baby is a happy, healthy adult today.

But, this child was different. I kept my appointments. I wasn’t as ashamed concerning my pregnancy as I had been with the first pregnancy. I realized so much about my young physical body that I had not previously known. I had an incompetent cervix which also contributed to my preterm birth. This pregnancy would be different. I could feel it! I was doing what I should be doing with physician visits, healthier eating habits and prenatal vitamin consumption.

Boy was I wrong! How wrong was I? My baby was premature, but she was a healthy 4-pound, 5-ounce baby girl born July 10, 1990. She died on September 23, 1990. I remember this day as though it were today. The anguish and disgust I experienced coping with the police investigation, probing neighbors, and disheartened family and friends. My baby girl succumbed to that malicious, mysterious, and unexplainable baby killer, SIDS.

In the early nineties, the research concerning SIDS was still new. However, progress to pinpoint measurable triggers or contributory factors continues to be made. In many instances, the ABCs of healthy sleep habits for both parent and child assist in preventing the SIDs syndrome. When my baby passed, she was, in fact, on her tummy. There are many practical resources and practices pregnant mothers can practice to lessen the likelihood of SIDs in their home, family, or community. These are my reflections, and I am an only child whose mother was/is a registered mental health nurse. I was a former teen statistic, and I am part of the village to empower others, especially young girls, through various health education platforms.”

Remember your ABCs when you are putting a baby to sleep. ALONE, on the BACK, and in a CRIB.

Tuberculosis Disease Could Be Silently Killing Your Kid(s)

tuberculosis bus

Tuberculosis Disease Could Be

Silently Killing Your Kid(s)

Ashley Ross, MPH

Public Health Coordinator – TB Outreach

Shelby County Health Department

Parents try their hardest to protect their children from negative influences they encounter on a day-to-day basis. Whether it is peer pressure, unhealthy friends, television shows, or the screening of social media pages, parents do it all to ensure the safety of their offspring. But what if what was harming your child or children was something that couldn’t be detected by your sixth sense as a parent? What if what was harming your kid(s) moved around your home every day, and you’ve never thought about how it could inadvertently impact your entire household? What if the threat was simply you? Yes, that’s correct; you may possibly be putting your baby or babies at risk by exposing them to “Pediatric” TB disease.

Tuberculosis infection can go undetected for years in healthy adults before converting into TB disease making them sick. After becoming infectious, parents oftentimes spread their TB germs to loved ones living within their households especially those under five years of age. These germs are spread when parents cough, sneeze, talk, sing, or laugh. The germs are then carried by the air and inhaled by a person not infected with TB. Most pediatric cases of TB disease can be linked to an adult case during a contact investigation. There were twenty-six cases of TB disease among individuals under the age of fifteen in Shelby County between 2012 and 2014, and of that, eighty-one percent were nine years of age or younger. Although tuberculosis can affect anyone, eighty-one percent of the cases were among non-Hispanic, African-American individuals.

This is why it is so important for families to know their tuberculosis statuses. If you have TB infection, treatment is needed to stop it from progressing to TB disease and making you sick in the future. If someone has a definite diagnosis of TB disease, the individual must obtain treatment to prevent it from being spread to children, as well as, the general public.

If you suspect that you or someone you know has tuberculosis disease or infection, please contact the TB Control Program at (901)-222-2664. For more information on tuberculosis, contact Ashley Ross at (901)-222-9651 or email at ashley.ross@shelbycountytn.gov.