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Fill-in-Blank News Release
for County Health Departments

Importance of Prenatal Care

For Release: (Date)
Contact: (Administrator)
(_____County Health Department)
(Phone Number)

Although nearly 79 percent of women who are pregnant in Oklahoma receive prenatal care in the first trimester – an increase of eight percent since 1989 – health officials are concerned that this still misses Oklahoma’s year 2000 goal of 90 percent. Clearly, many women are still not receiving prenatal care early in their pregnancy.

“The importance of receiving prenatal care in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy cannot be overstated,” said _____, administrator, _____ County Health Department.  “Women who receive late or inadequate prenatal care are at higher risk for having undetected complications of pregnancy and are twice as likely to have a low birthweight baby than women who do receive adequate prenatal care.”

The impact of prenatal care among women experiencing pregnancy-related complications is dramatic, _____ said. “For example, women who experienced inadequate prenatal care and complications of pregnancy are three times more likely to have a low birthweight baby compared to women whose pregnancies were difficult, but who received early and adequate prenatal care.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently conducted a study examining reasons why women do not receive early prenatal care. CDC found that the number one cause of delay in seeking prenatal care is not recognizing the signs of pregnancy, followed closely by lack of insurance.

In Oklahoma, these barriers to care are addressed through a variety of health services designed to promote safe motherhood. For example, in _____ County, women can go to the _____ County Health Department clinic for a confidential pregnancy test, even if they do not have any way to pay for this service.  Once a pregnancy is confirmed by a urine test, health department staff can also assist with finding medical care, completing the application to Medicaid and helping a woman obtain the care she needs.  Other services, including WIC, Children First and Healthy Families are available to assist women and their families to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Although symptoms of pregnancy are different for every woman, usually women experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Missed or irregular menstrual periods
  • Increased fatigue or tiredness
  • Increase in breast size or tenderness
  • Increased frequency of urination

Women who think they may be pregnant are encouraged to visit their physician, the _____ County Health department, community health center, or Planned Parenthood clinic for a pregnancy test.  Even if the test is negative, nurses are available to discuss steps to ensure a healthy future pregnancy or contraceptive methods, if a baby is not desired at that time.

For information about prenatal care, contact the _____ County Health Department at (phone number) or the statewide Prenatal Care toll free number: 1-800-311-2229.

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