The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Office of Minority Health (OMH) and community partners are hosting a series of educational baby showers across the state at no cost to expectant moms. Medical experts and health information resource vendors will provide educational opportunities to answer health questions and give information to help at-risk mothers and their babies stay healthy during and after pregnancy.
The community baby showers are part of a larger statewide initiative called “Preparing for A Lifetime – It’s Everyone’s Responsibility,” designed to reduce Oklahoma’s infant mortality rate (IMR). In 2007, Oklahoma ranked 46th in the United States with an infant mortality rate of 8.5 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to the national average of 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births. In Oklahoma, the African American (18.7) and American Indian (9.6) infant mortality rates are higher than the state average. The infant mortality rate for Hispanics was 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births.
Local nonprofit associations, women’s groups, and faith-based and child service organizations are encouraged to organize in their communities and unite with others to provide a “Healthy Baby Begins with You” community baby shower. The OSDH OMH will provide technical assistance and support to the community organizers. A short program with games and speakers will help dispel myths by providing accurate information on how to have a healthy baby. The non-traditional settings optimize comfort levels for participants to promote dialogue with doctors and nurses in a nonclinical setting. Topics covered include risks for low birth weight babies, the importance of prenatal and well baby care and taking care of oneself during and after pregnancy. The program is modeled after an evidence-based community initiative promoted by the National Office of Minority Health and Department of Health and Human Services.
“It is our hope that through this non-traditional way of providing educational health materials to at-risk women, we will begin to reduce the infant mortality rate in Oklahoma. As women use the information learned and share it with their friends and family, more individuals will be enlightened, educated and informed on ways to increase the likelihood of a strong, healthy baby,” said OMH Director Linda Thomas.
The following Healthy Baby Shower can accommodate the first 200 people who reserve a seat and is scheduled for:
· September 15, 2011, 6 pm to 8 pm, Langston University, Oklahoma City Campus, 4205 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City. Contact Office of Minority Health at 271-1337 for additional information.
For general information about improving the health of pregnant women and infants in Oklahoma, contact OSDH Maternal and Child Health at (405) 271-4480, call the county health department in your area, or view the “Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility” website at http://iio.health.ok.gov.
For information about scheduling a community baby shower and how you can organize one in your neighborhood, contact OSDH OMH Director Linda Thomas as (405) 271-1337 and view the OMH “A Healthy Baby Begins with You” baby shower toolkit at http://go.usa.gov/DCK.