Newsletter September 2011

First 5 San Diego

First 5 Commission of San Diego
Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, Chair
Carol Skiljan, Vice-Chair
Sandra McBrayer
Wilma J. Wooten, MD, MPH
Nick Macchione, MS, MPH, FACHE

Barbara Jimenez
The Director’s Corner
Barbara Jiménez

August was National Breastfeeding Month and I want to take the opportunity to address this important matter because breastmilk is a baby’s healthiest first food.  Earlier this year, the U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin issued The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, calling on health care providers, employers, insurers, policymakers, researchers, and the community-at-large to support mothers in reaching their personal breastfeeding goals.  The Surgeon General identifies several key actions to improve support for breastfeeding which include:  1.) encouraging employers to establish and maintain comprehensive, high-quality lactation support programs for their employees and 2.) improving national leadership on the promotion and support of breastfeeding. 

As a partner in the County of San Diego’s Live Well, San Diego! strategy to building better health, First 5 San Diego shares the County’s goal to prevent obesity among its residents by providing healthier choices and environments, starting with its own employees.  According to the Surgeon General, breastfeeding is the healthiest choice for infants and significantly reduces the risk of childhood obesity.  That’s why the County of San Diego adopted a lactation policy to help make the “healthy choice an easy choice”.  The policy ensures mothers employed by the County have a comfortable, private place to pump at work and provides easy access to breastfeeding resources. 

One of those resources, available to all mothers in San Diego, is Text4Baby.  The free mobile service, supported by First 5 San Diego, provides health information to women from early pregnancy through their baby’s first year.  The service sends important educational text messages on topics like breastfeeding that are timed to the mother’s stage of pregnancy or to the baby’s age.  To sign up for this free service, text BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411 or register at

One other resource I would like to recommend is our free Kit for New Parents.  The Kit provides an Advice for New Parents Guide and DVD that includes information about breastfeeding.  To request a Kit, call our warmline 1-888-5 FIRST 5 (1-888-534-7785).

First 5 San Diego is committed to ensuring that breastfeeding support is available for every mother and infant.  By supporting this effort, we are able to achieve our goal that all children ages 0 to 5 are healthy, loved, and nurtured.  For more information about The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding, click here.

Barbara Jiménez

Being Healthy for Your Baby
Being Healthy for Your Baby
An Expectant Mother’s Guide to Prenatal Care

Expectant mothers who receive routine prenatal care – the medical attention a woman receives throughout her pregnancy – are more likely to have healthier babies and less likely to deliver prematurely or have other serious problems during pregnancy.

Many women, particularly first-time mothers, are often unaware of what takes place at prenatal check-ups. That’s why First 5 San Diego provides the following guide to help you understand what to expect during your prenatal appointments.

The First Step
Prenatal care begins at conception. Once you know or think you may be pregnant, visit a health care provider right away. Your health insurance company can recommend a doctor or midwife in your area who specializes in pregnancies. If you are pregnant and currently without health insurance, there are low or no-cost health insurance options available. Begin by calling the County of San Diego’s ACCESS Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-866-262-9881 to determine if you are eligible. First 5 San Diego’s Healthcare Access (HCA) program helps eligible children ages 0 through 5 and their families enroll and stay enrolled in health insurance.

After deciding on your health care professional, you will meet with him or her regularly throughout your pregnancy.

What to Expect at Your First Appointment
Your first visit to your health care professional should take place as soon as you find out you are pregnant. For the first visit, your doctor or certified midwife will:

  • Review medical history: Knowing your medical history as well as your family’s and the baby’s father’s history will allow your health professional to monitor or anticipate any problems that could occur during your pregnancy. Answer as many questions as you can, but do not worry if you cannot answer them all.
  • Determine your due date: Women typically deliver within two weeks of their due dates.
  • Perform a physical exam: Your health care provider will perform a variety of exams to check your health and make recommendations for how you can have a healthy pregnancy. Be sure to inform him or her if you smoke, as smoking is harmful to you and your pregnancy.
  • Do blood and health tests: Using these tests, the doctor or midwife will determine your blood type and whether you have any infections that could harm the baby. If you do have an infection, the doctor or midwife can usually treat it without affecting your pregnancy.
  • Provide healthy pregnancy tips and local resources: Your health care professional will provide tips on how to stay healthy during your pregnancy, such as making nutritious food choices and taking prenatal vitamins. You may also discuss local pregnancy resources, such as childbirth classes, the Kit for New Parents and your local Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.
  • Schedule your next appointment: Be sure to schedule your next visit for the following month.

Follow-up Prenatal Appointments
After your first appointment, prenatal care visits are usually shorter and more routine. Your health care provider will likely perform the following:

  • Check your heart rate and blood pressure
  • Measure your weight gain and the growth of your stomach
  • Check your hands, feet and face for swelling
  • Listen to the baby’s heartbeat
  • Feel the baby’s movement and position in your abdomen
  • Conduct any tests needed, such as blood tests or ultrasounds

Prenatal Care Schedule
A typical prenatal care schedule for a woman with a normal pregnancy includes the following:

  • During weeks 4 to 28 of your pregnancy, visit your health provider once per month.
  • During weeks 28 to 36, visit twice per month.
  • In the last weeks of your pregnancy (week 36 until delivery), visit your doctor or midwife once per week.
  • A woman with a “high-risk” pregnancy may have to see her health care professional more often.
  • Even if you are feeling fine, it is important to attend all prenatal appointments.

First 5 San Diego encourages all mothers-to-be to visit their health care providers early and often. For more information on prenatal care and First 5 San Diego programs, or to receive your free Kit for New Parents, call 1-888-5 FIRST 5 (1-888-534-7785)or visit

Fallbrook Community Health Fair
First 5 San Diego staff Stephanie Escobar with a visiting family

Fallbrook Community Health Fair
Ballet Folklorico Dancers Perform at the Fallbrook Community Health Fair

Fallbrook Community Health Fair

On Friday, August 5, 2011, First 5 San Diego participated in the Community Health Fair held at the Jack E. Johns Fallbrook Family Health Center. The event was presented by Community Health Systems, Inc. in celebration of National Health Center Week. Families who attended the event received information about local health services in addition to free dental, vision and glucose screenings. The event also featured face painting and activities for children, music, and dance performances by the Fallbrook High School cheer squad and a local ballet folklorico group. Families who visited all of the booths at the event were entered into a raffle for free gifts and the Fallbrook Food Pantry was on hand to accept food donations.

The Jack E. Johns Fallbrook Family Health Center is one of our Oral Health Initiative (OHI) community partners in North County that provides pregnant women and children ages 0 to 5 with no-cost dental screenings and treatment. For more information about our OHI program or to get connected, please call 1-888-5 FIRST 5 (1-888-534-7785) or visit

Strengthening Families and Communities
Strengthening Families and Communities

Parents and professionals who work with children and families are invited to attend a California Child Abuse Prevention and Early Intervention Summit titled “Strengthening Families and Communities” that will be held on September 22-23, 2011 at the Sheraton Hotel & Marina in San Diego, Calif. Attendees will learn how the Strengthening Families™ framework serves as a catalyst for change by building protective factors that support families, promote optimal child development, and prevent abuse and neglect.

The event will highlight promising practices and programs that support families and the community. Workshops will focus on the three main areas: Parent Leadership, Systems and Policy Change and Professional Development. For more information and to register for this event, please visit

ECMH Advocacy Day
Early Childhood Mental Health Advocacy Day: Caring for Complex Children 0-5

First 5 San Diego will co-sponsor the Early Childhood Mental Health Advocacy Day II: Caring for Complex Children ages 0-5 on Saturday, September 24, 2011 from 8am to 5pm at the Scottish Rite Event Center, 1895 Camino Del Rio South San Diego, CA 92108. The conference is designed for professionals who work with young children ages 0 to 5 and their families. The second annual conference aims to increase awareness about early childhood mental health and educate professionals about how to work with children with multiple developmental challenges and their families. Workshop topics will include the impact of trauma, caregiver and child relationships, complications of treatment, early childhood aggression, and considerations for treatment plans. For more information or to register, please email

Kids Care Fest
A representative from the Grossmont Spring Valley Family Health Center, a First 5 San Diego Healthy Development Services (HDS) community partner, at the 2010 Kids Care Fest in La Mesa, Calif.

Kids Care Fest

On Saturday, September 24, 2011, First 5 San Diego will participate in the Kids Care Fest event presented by the Grossmont Healthcare District and the City of La Mesa. The 10th annual free family event will be held at Briercrest Park, 9001 Wakarusa St. in La Mesa from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Children under the age of 12 will receive free health care screenings, including hearing, vision and dental vision screenings from healthcare professionals at the event. The event will also feature free children’s activities including arts and crafts, water safety, bungee and astro jumps, pony rides, law enforcement demonstrations and free books for children to take home. A free lunch will be served to children while supplies last.

For more information, visit

Hope in the Park
Hope in the Park 2011

First 5 San Diego is pleased to join the San Diego Domestic Violence Council and the San Diego County Commission for Children, Youth & Families in their annual HOPE in the Park event on Saturday, October 8, 2011 at Balboa Park from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend and celebrate a “family violence-free” day. The event is a community effort to prevent domestic violence and promote safe and healthy families and communities. For more information or to get involved, email or visit the San Diego Domestic Violence Council website.

Add Your Event to Our Website

Our website features an enhanced community calendar. Do you have a community event that you would like to add to the First 5 San Diego calendar? If your event focuses on children ages 0-5, parents, caregivers and/or expectant parents, offered at no or low cost, and sponsored by a non-profit organization, we want to share your event. Fill out our Community Event Listing Request Form.

For more information about First 5 San Diego services call 1-888-5 First 5. For updates from First 5 San Diego, please join us on Facebook.