BRADENTON – Rocio Reyes loves being a mom. She and her husband Jose have two sons Michael, 10, and Jesus, 8. Last year, Rocio and Jose began planning for their third baby. “I knew from having my two sons that getting as healthy as possible before becoming pregnant could help me have a healthier pregnancy and baby.” Rocio learned about how to get healthy before a pregnancy when she was expecting her first two children and participated in the Healthy Start Manatee program. “Jose, the boys, and I began walking after dinner every evening and eating healthier. I started taking folic acid every day.” Last week their family welcomed a healthy baby boy, Abraham, into the world.
Show Your Love is a new national campaign developed by the Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative (PCHHCI), in partnership with the Healthy Start Coalition of Manatee County. Its goal is to help women prepare for healthy pregnancies and babies by adopting healthy habits well before becoming pregnant. By adopting healthy habits, women are showing their love to their future babies and also to themselves.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preconception health is the health of women and men during their reproductive years. As part of their preconception health, women can take steps now to protect their health and the health of the family they may want to have sometime in the future.
Healthy Start Manatee is pleased to be a part of this important effort, which reflects our mission to ensure access to prenatal and pediatric care, reduce infant mortality and improve birth and developmental outcomes. We want every woman to know that taking a few steps toward becoming healthier before pregnancy, such as working with her doctor to control and treat medical conditions, quitting smoking, and avoiding alcohol if trying to get pregnant, can bring a lifetime of benefits to her and her future babies,” commented Fred Leonard, Healthy Start Manatee Executive Director. “And for those women who choose not to start a family, we encourage them to take care of themselves live a healthy lifestyle so they can achieve their goals and dreams,” said Mr. Leonard.
The Show Your Love campaign focuses on women during their childbearing years. As part of the campaign, the initiative has developed a series of educational materials including video and radio public service announcements, posters, a checklist of healthy habits, as well as online ads and a kit for organizations interested in supporting the campaign and helping to spread the word about the importance of preconception health.
“In support of the campaign, Healthy Start Manatee is making these materials available through social media outlets, with postings to our Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages. In addition, we are publishing an article in the Como en Familia magazine to highlight the Show Your Love campaign so that the information is available in both English and Spanish. Healthy Start will also host an Open House on March 5th from 11 am to 12:30 pm where we will be distributing Show Your Love posters to our clients,” said Mr. Leonard. Our message to women who want to become mothers some day is that by taking important steps to improve their health before pregnancy, they can begin showing love for themselves and their babies before they’re born. Their bodies and their babies will thank them for it.”
Members of the Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative represent national, state, and local organizations, including Healthy Start Manatee, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), March of Dimes, National Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition, the National Healthy Start Association, state health departments, and local affiliates of national organizations.
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