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For Release:  October 11, 2011 – Pamela Williams, Office of Communications – 405/271-5601 

Local Groups to Host Educational, Healthy Baby Showers
Free educational baby showers discuss ways to help reduce infant deaths.

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 is used to dispel myths by providing accurate information on how to have a healthy baby. The non-traditional settings help attendees feel comfortable, while asking questions of the 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 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The following educational Healthy Baby Shower can accommodate the first 150 people who reserve a seat:

  • Sunday, Oct. 16, at 3 p.m. at the Opal Dargan Renaissance Hall, Greenwood Cultural Center, 322 N. Greenwood Avenue, Tulsa. Contact Mechelle Brown at (918) 596-1026 to RSVP and for additional information.  The event is free with refreshments and door prizes.  The OSDH OMH, Greenwood Cultural Center, and Tulsa City-County Health Department are working with several community organizations to host this event, including the following: Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League, Oklahoma Eagle, KJAMZ 105.3, Oklahoma Health Care Authority/Sooner Care Enrollment/Medicaid, Langston University Cooperative Extension, OKC Campus, Healing Touch, Emerson Alternative School, Community Health Centers, Inc./ Healthy Start

“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 by providing healthy lifestyles for themselves and their babies,” said OMH Director Linda Thomas.

For general information about improving the health of pregnant women and infants in Oklahoma, contact OSDH Maternal and Child Health at (405) 271-4480, or 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 or 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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