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SHIP : va1toolbox

State Health Improvement Process (SHIP)

Birth Outcomes Tools
1. Unsafe sleep practices are a leading killer of babies in Maryland. Communities can obtain a free safe sleep video to play in community locations by e-mailing MDwyer@dhmh.state.md.us. Also check out additional information to design educational materials and tips from First Candle.
2. Reduce Teen Pregnancy - Nearly two-thirds of births to women younger than age 18 and more than half of those among 18−19 year olds are unintended. Teen birth, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and abortion rates are substantially higher than those of other western industrialized nations. CDC considers reducing teen pregnancy a winnable battle and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy has great tools.
3. Reduce cigarette smoking, a leading cause of low birth weight. Communities can help smokers quit by encouraging them to call the free state quit line at 1-800-QUITNOW or click here.
4. Know about new crib standards to increase infant safety.
5. Good birth outcomes are linked to a good diet and being at a healthy weight. Connect low income pregnant moms to WIC resources for help.
6. Prevent Birth defects to reduce one in five infant deaths. If a woman has enough folic acid in her body before she is pregnant, it can help prevent major birth defects of her baby’s brain and spine. Check out CDC resources and the March of Dimes for promoting the use of folic acid supplements during pregnancy.
7. Increase communication to prevent unintended teen pregnancies and STI transmissions. Plain Talk, known as “Hablando Claro” in Spanish, is a community-based health initiative that encourages parents and adults to discuss with young people about sex openly and honestly. Plain Talk has been successful by focusing on its simple rule: COMMUNICATE. By increasing adult-teen communication about sex and increasing teens’ access to contraception, the program works to decrease unwanted pregnancies, STDs, and HIV/AIDS. See the positive impact by watching the program’s testimonial video.
8. Understanding pregnancy symptoms and the importance of obtaining prenatal care are the first steps to increasing first trimester prenatal care. Planned Parenthood has an abundance of resources for pregnant women including healthy behavior during pregnancy and an outline of what to expect during a prenatal care visit. These can be found here. Week-by-week body changes and pregnancy stages are also available here.