Premature birth is a leading cause of infant death and disabilities. In San Diego, one in nine babies are born too soon (close to 4,500 each year) many whom will suffer lifelong consequences such as learning disabilities, developmental delays, blindness, chronic lung disease and cerebral palsy. The cause of 50 percent of births is still unknown and any woman – even if she has the healthiest of lifestyles – can give birth prematurely. If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, there are steps you can take to make sure your baby gets the healthiest start:
- Visit your health care provider if you are planning on getting pregnant to make sure you are as healthy as can be. As soon as you find out you are pregnant, make an appointment to receive a prenatal care checkup and throughout your pregnancy, go to all of your prenatal care checkups even if you feel fine.
- Eat healthy, choosing iron-rich foods and foods that are low in sugar.
- Get to and maintain a healthy weight through exercise.
- Take folic acid to help prevent birth defects and take care of health conditions that could affect your pregnancy.
- Protect yourself and your growing baby from the flu and other disease by getting your recommended vaccines. Also, keep away infection by simply washing your hands often.
- Keep yourself and your baby safe by staying away from anything harmful to your body. Stay away from alcohol and drugs not prescribed by your doctor and harmful chemicals. Also, abuse is never OK.
- If possible, it is best to stay pregnant for at least 39 weeks. If your pregnancy is healthy, wait for labor to begin on its own. For medical reasons, you may need to have your baby early but if you have a choice, wait until at least 39 weeks.
This April, First 5 San Diego is pleased to once again sponsor March for Babies. This event takes place in 1,400 communities across the nation, involving thousands of volunteers in a great day of walking to raise the money needed to save babies’ lives. For 76 years, people in the San Diego community have joined together to walk to ensure moms have full-term pregnancies and babies are born healthy in support of the County’s Live Well San Diego initiative to build healthy, safe, and thriving communities. Join our team or make a donation by visiting First 5 San Diego’s Team.
March for Babies North County
Saturday, April 11, 2015
Pier Amphitheater, 200 N the Strand, Oceanside, CA 92054
March for Babies Balboa Park
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Balboa Park, 2514 Sixth Ave., San Diego, CA 92103
Also, we will be sharing stories, photos and information to help raise awareness and pay tribute to preemies and families touched by premature birth. Visit us on our Facebook and Instagram pages (@first5sandiego) and tell us who you would like to honor and/or share your story and photos to help inspire others affected by premature birth.