If You Care About Our Community
You’re not pregnant? You are not a woman who is at the age where you can become pregnant? You’re not a woman at
all? You still have an important role to play in preventing infant deaths in your community. When you encourage your
friends and family members to make healthy choices, you won’t be stepping on their toes – you will be showing them
that you care. Follow these tips to help save babies’ lives.
Encourage all women you know to follow the tips listed in the “If you are a woman” section
of this website.
Are you a relative, husband, boyfriend or friend of women who could one day become pregnant? If so, your opinion and
advice matter. Women might be more likely to listen to suggestions made by someone they know cares about them than to
pay attention to some public service announcement or listen to suggestions from people they do not know. If you have
a close relationship with a woman or teenager who is able to become pregnant:
- Help her quit smoking.
- Encourage her to use some form of birth control or consider abstaining from sex.
- Encourage her to take a multi-vitamin every day to make sure she is getting enough Folic Acid.
- Encourage her to get her annual checkup. Let her know that helping her stay healthy is important to you.
Encourage all the pregnant women you know to follow the tips listed in the “If you are pregnant” section of this
Are you a father-to-be? Is your wife or girlfriend pregnant? Do you have a granddaughter or niece who is expecting a
baby? You can encourage and support healthy choices for your pregnant spouse, relative, or friend. If you have a
close relationship with a woman or teenager who is pregnant:
- Help her quit smoking. Ask her to call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.
- Learn the signs of preterm labor. If the pregnant woman in your life starts having any of the symptoms, help her contact the doctor or go to the hospital.
- Go with her to some of her pre-natal appointments. Make a special attempt to go to the appointment where the doctor will do the “anatomy check” on the baby. This visit, about mid-way through the pregnancy, is often when major birth defects or problems with the baby might be identified for the first time. Having a loved one with her for support might help a pregnant woman deal with difficult news.
- Ease her stress as much as you can. Help out more around the house. Make dinner one night and deliver it to her house. Offer to baby sit the other children so she can have some time alone to rest or to go out with her friends. She will appreciate the extra attention and help.
Lay babies on their back to sleep to help prevent SIDS.
Always lay any baby on his or her back to sleep to help prevent death from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. If you see
friends or family members laying babies to sleep on their stomachs, ask if they have heard about SIDS and ask them to
turn the babies onto their backs. Keep any blankets far away from the baby’s face. Keep all soft toys like stuffed
animals out of the crib entirely.
Create a “smoke-free zone” around all babies.
- Do not smoke around your baby or around the babies of any friends or relatives.
- Ask others not to smoke in the home, the car, or daycare setting.
- Look for smoke-free places when you go out to eat or have fun.
If you have teenage daughters, help them start taking daily multi-vitamins.
Help your daughters start this healthy habit early! Multi-vitamins with Folic Acid can prevent up to 70% of certain
birth defects IF pregnant women take them in the very early days of pregnancy. Help your young daughters get into
the daily vitamin habit today – even though they hopefully will not become pregnant for many years to come. Folic
Acid is a vitamin that is helpful for women and men throughout our lifetimes and extremely beneficial for a fetus
during the first 2-3 weeks of pregnancy.
If you have daughters or sons that are teenagers or younger, talk with them about sex.
Would you rather your children learn about sex from you or from their friends or TV? If you talk to your teenagers
about sex, they will listen. Teens say that parents influence their sexual decisions more than any other source.
- Start early. Begin talking with your pre-school age children about “good touch” and “bad touch.” Help them understand that it is not OK for adults to touch them in a sexual way.
- As your children grow up, talk to them about what you think is or is not acceptable at their age and why. Think this through yourself before you talk with your kids. For example, do you think holding hands and kissing is acceptable for a 15 year-old but sexual intercourse is not? Make your expectations clear to your child.
- These conversations are not easy but are very important. 1 out of every 3 teenage girls in the Untied States becomes pregnant at least once before she turns 20 years old. Not talking about sex will not prevent your children from experimenting or giving in to peer pressure. Be pro-active instead. Visit the Talk With Your Kids website for ideas on how to reach out to your child or teen.
Advocate for mothers and babies in our community.
Talk to elected officials and the leaders in your community. Your opinion is powerful, especially if you vote. Write
letters to the Editor of your local newspaper. Let people know that babies are dying not only for medical reasons,
but for social and economic ones as well.
Become a community leader yourself.
Not getting the response or action you want from your leaders? Become one yourself. Do you disagree with the
decisions agencies and organizations are making? Help to change them from within.
- Ask to join the Board of Directors or volunteer with any organization that you care about.
- Go to community forums and express your opinion. It matters!
- Think about running for a local elected office. The best leaders are people who can speak from real experience.