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For Release:  September 8, 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 Seminole County Health Department, Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Office of Minority Health (OMH) and community partners are hosting an educational baby shower 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.

“Our educational community baby showers help to shape the future of at-risk women and their unborn children. Participants are receptive to asking questions and receiving health care information in this open non-traditional setting. Our educational baby showers create an opportunity for non-traditional partners and health professionals to unite with parents and help reduce the infant mortality rate in Oklahoma. By participating in and embracing this initiative, more individuals will be educated and informed on ways to increase the likelihood of a strong, healthy baby,” said OMH Director Linda Thomas.

The following Healthy Baby Shower can accommodate the first 150 people who reserve a seat and is scheduled for:

  • September 22, 2011, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm, Wewoka Civic Center, 123 South Mekusukey, Wewoka. Contact Seminole County Health Department at (405) 257-5401 in Wewoka or (405) 382-4369 in Seminole for additional information. 

The Seminole County Health Department and the OSDH OMH are working with more than 30 community, faith-based and civic organizations to host this event.

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 more information about participating in this community baby shower contact Michelle Gilbert at (405) 257-5401 in Wewoka or (405) 382-4369 in Seminole. For scheduling a community baby shower and how you can organize one in your neighborhood, contact OSDH OMH Director Linda Thomas at (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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