Live Healthier Now for the Baby You May Someday Have

LIBERTY, September 2, 2013 - While most parents understand the importance of early and regular health care during pregnancy, the prenatal care period may be too late to ensure having a baby who is as healthy as can be.

In Texas, six in 1,000 babies die before their 1st birthday, and premature birth is a leading cause. According to the March of Dimes, 1,013 preterm births occur in Texas every week. Many of the causes of premature delivery are preventable and may stem from unhealthy behaviors and poor nutrition.

Instead of focusing only on health during pregnancy, the Texas Department of State Health Services’ Healthy Texas Babies initiative are reaching out to women who may have a baby next year, five years from now or even later. DSHS is also offering tips and resources fathers can use as they support their partners through pregnancy and their baby when he or she arrives.

Someday Starts Now is the name of the new public education campaign that urges future moms to get healthy now to improve their chances of having a healthy baby later.

The cornerstone of the campaign is SomedayStartsNow.com, available in both English and Spanish. With SomedayStartsNow.com, DSHS offers tools to help women and men take action now, including a downloadable Life Planning Tool and Birth Plan as well as other information.

To support fatherhood involvement, DSHS has developed a men’s section on SomedayStartsNow.com. The section provides detailed information and resources to help dads support their partner’s pregnancy and the baby’s first year, and gives them activities to enhance their own health and well-being.

African Americans have the highest rate of infant mortality in Texas, and DSHS is using community-based outreach to spread the word to this audience. The campaign includes targeted beauty shop and barbershop visits to get people talking to each other about preconception health and fatherhood in a relaxed environment.

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