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For Release: November 24, 2009
Contact: Pamela Williams 
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Pregnant Women, a Priority Population for Immunizations
“Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility”

Flu vaccine can help keep a pregnant woman and her baby healthy. According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), pregnant women are more likely to have more serious health complications if they contract the seasonal flu or H1N1 flu virus.

As part of the “Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility” campaign, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and its partner organizations want to remind women of the important protection that immunizations provide and encourage pregnant women and their household to get their flu shots.

Being healthy before and between pregnancies greatly improves the chances of having a healthy baby. Receiving the vaccines a mother needs - Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) before or between pregnancies and influenza vaccines for H1N1 influenza and regular seasonal flu vaccine during pregnancy - protects both mother and baby.

Other messages that help improve infant outcomes include:

  • Having a full-term pregnancy (about 40 weeks) contributes to good birth outcomes.
  • Breastfeeding offers a baby the best nutrition for every stage of growth.
  • Getting tested and treated, if needed, for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) promotes a healthy pregnancy and birth.
  • Recognizing the signs and getting help for postpartum depression can improve health for both mother and baby.
  • Decreasing the chances of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome by placing baby on her back to sleep and avoiding exposure to second hand smoke contributes to strong and healthy babies.
  • Preventing injuries among infants will keep them safe and secure.

“Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility.” Pregnant moms, dads, partners, family, friends, health care providers and others all have a role to play in ensuring that Oklahoma babies are born strong and healthy with a life full of potential.

If you are currently pregnant and need information about the H1N1 vaccine or the seasonal flu vaccine, contact your health care provider or call the county health department in your area.

For general information about having healthy babies go to OSDH Web site  www.health.ok.gov

Partners in the Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility public health campaign are: Central Oklahoma Healthy Start, Coalition for Oklahoma Breastfeeding Advocates, County Health Departments, Indian Health Services, March of Dimes, OU Medical Center, Oklahoma Child Death Review Board, Oklahoma City Area Inter-Tribal Health Board, Oklahoma City-County Health Department, Oklahoma Department of Human Services, and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

Additional partners are: Oklahoma Family Network, Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Oklahoma Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition, Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Rotary Club of Stillwater, Safe Kids Coalition, The State Chamber, The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Tulsa Health Department and Tulsa Healthy Start, Oklahoma Turning Point, Oklahoma Health Equity Campaign, and the Wichita, Caddo and Delaware Tribes Women, Infants and Children’s (WIC) Program.=

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