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For Release:  May 26, 2011 – Pamela Williams, Office of Communications – (405-271-5601)

 Local Groups to Host Educational, Healthy Baby Showers

Free educational baby showers designed to help reduce Oklahoma’s infant mortality rates.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Office of Minority Health (OMH) and community partners are hosting a series of educational baby showers across the state at no cost to expectant moms. Medical experts and health information resource vendors will provide educational opportunities to answer health questions and give information to help at-risk mothers and their babies stay healthy during and after pregnancy.

The community baby showers are part of a larger statewide initiative called “Preparing for A Lifetime – It’s Everyone’s Responsibility,” designed to reduce Oklahoma’s infant mortality rate (IMR). In 2007, Oklahoma ranked 46th in the United States with an infant mortality rate of 8.5 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to the national average of 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births. In Oklahoma, the African American (18.7) and American Indian (9.6) infant mortality rates are higher than the state average. The infant mortality rate for Hispanics was 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Local nonprofit associations, women’s groups, and faith-based and child service organizations are encouraged to organize in their communities and unite with others to provide a “Healthy Baby Begins with You” community baby shower. The OSDH OMH will provide technical assistance and support to the community organizers. A short program with games and speakers will help dispel myths by providing accurate information on how to have a healthy baby. The non-traditional settings optimize comfort levels for participants to promote dialogue with doctors and nurses in a nonclinical setting. Topics covered include risks for low birth weight babies, the importance of prenatal and well baby care and taking care of oneself during and after pregnancy. The program is modeled after an evidence-based community initiative promoted by the National Office of Minority Health and Department of Health and Human Services.

“It is our hope that through this non-traditional way of providing educational health materials to at-risk women, we will begin to reduce the IMRs. As women use the information learned and share it with their friends and family, more individuals will be enlightened, educated and informed on ways to reduce infant mortality rates,” said OMH Director Linda Thomas.

The following Healthy Baby Shower can accommodate the first 200 people who reserve a seat and is scheduled for:

  • Saturday, June 4, 2011, 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm, St. Charles Borromeo Church, 5024 N. Grove, Oklahoma City. Contact Linda Clark at 384-3810 for additional information and/or to donate door prizes.  

The OSDH OMH is working with several community organizations to host this event, including the following: St. Charles Borromeo Church, Corpus Christi Church, Latino Community Development Agency (LCDA), Oklahoma Health Care Authority: Child Health Unit, Birth Choice,  Association of American Indian Physicians, Department of Mental Health and

Substance Abuse, Emerson Alternative School, Community Health Centers, Inc., Langston University Cooperative Extension, OKC Campus, Metro Tech, Spring Lake Drive Campus, Wildewood Baptist Church, and Family Expectations. 

For general information about improving the health of pregnant women and infants in Oklahoma, contact OSDH Maternal and Child Health at 405-271-4480, call the county health department in your area, or view the “Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility” website at http://iio.health.ok.gov.  

For information about a scheduled community baby shower and how you can organize one in your neighborhood, contact OSDH OMH Director Linda Thomas as (405) 271-1337 and view the OMH “A Healthy Baby Begins with You” baby shower toolkit at http://go.usa.gov/DCK.

 

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