Florida Birth Defects Registry report released

May 4, 2011  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

One in 28 babies in Florida are born with a birth defect — which are the leading cause of infant death, according to the latest Florida Birth Defects Registry reported released by the state Department of Health.

The registry report looks at data from 1998-2007. The most common defects include congenital heart defects, cleft lip, gastroschisis, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and congential abnormalities.

While the causes of two-thirds of birth defects are unknown, women can help prevent birth defects by planning their pregnancy and seeing their health care provider prior to becoming pregnant to discuss family history, use of medications or chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes or epilepsy.

Defects of the neural tube and those in the fetal alcohol spectrum can be prevented by taking folic acid prior to and during pregnancy and avoiding alcohol while pregnant.

In 2007, the state DOH received funding to operate and manage this statewide birth defects registry in response to the public’s ongoing concern about birth defects and environmental hazards. For more information on the registry, visit the FBDR Web site.

NAS Jax Hospital close to Baby-Friendly Hospital designation

  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

NAS Jacksonville moved a step closer to becoming the first hospital in Northeast Florida to receive the “Baby-Friendly Hospital” designation recognizing its support of breastfeeding mothers. The national inspection team will conduct a site visit at the facility August 15-17th to document compliance with the ten steps required for designation.

If successful, NAS Jax would become the third hospital in Florida to achieve this status. Cape Canaveral Hospital and Morton Plant Hospital are the two hospitals in the state with the designation.

NAS Jax has been an active participant in the NEF Breastfeeding Collaborative, organized in 2009 to promote and support improved policies and practices in delivering hospitals in the region. Baby-Friendly Hospital designation for all maternity facilities was a key recommendation for improving infant health included in the 2008 JCCI Infant Mortality Study.

Third-hand smoke is the latest identified risk to babies

Apr 25, 2011  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

Second-hand smoke has become a common term but a newly identified threat from smoking — third-hand smoke — can be just as dangerous, even in the womb.

A study published in the American Journal of Physiology and conducted by the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute found that third-hand smoke — when the toxins linger on a smoker, fabric and other surfaces after the cigarette is extinguished — can impact the lung development in utero.

The impact third-hand smoke has on lung development can lead to asthma and other respiratory ailments that can last a lifetime.

The study also showed that infants living in houses with strict no-smoking policies have nicotine levels that are six times lower than infants exposed to smoke.

For more on the study, click here.

Pregnant women and their families in Northeast Florida who want to quit smoking  can call the Florida QuitLine (1-888-U-CAN-NOW) or access free smoking cessation classes called “Quit Smoking Now.”

Task Force launches prenatal care campaign in Baker County

Apr 18, 2011  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  no comments

Pregnant women in Baker County aren’t getting the care they need — so the Baker County Infant Mortality Task Force has set out to let the community know: Moms Matter!

The Task Force has launched a media campaign targeted at pregnant women and the overall community, to promote early and regular prenatal care and make sure the community is supporting women during their pregnancies.

Ads have run in the newspaper, local articles and news blurbs on the issue have been printed (check them out here and here) and fans will be available to churches and community agencies. The fans include a list of over 100 “Intentional Acts of Kindness Toward a Pregnant Woman.” The Coalition also has a Web page devoted to resources in the community available to pregnant women!

Seeking prenatal care early — in the first trimester — and regularly is vital to the health of babies. Mothers who do not get prenatal care are three times more likely to have low birth weight babies and five times more likely to have their baby die, compared to mothers who do receive prenatal care.

Most women in Baker County receive their prenatal care from private physicians and the county health department. Prenatal care should begin in the first trimester, but many women enter into care late (second trimester or later) or do not enter into care at all.

Stork’s Nest to open April 30

  •   Written by Erin Addington   •  3 comments

Women who don’t receive prenatal care early and regularly are more likely to have poor birth outcomes — but pregnant women in North Jacksonville will soon have a new resource to promote their health and well-being during this critical time.

The Zeta Phi Beta sorority is opening a new Stork’s Nest program on April 30 at 11 am at their Northside location: 3805 Moncrief Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32209. The Beta Alpha Zeta chapter established the Stork’s Nest to increase prenatal care and education by providing much needed baby and maternity items to local expectant mothers who are at-risk for preterm births

The national Zeta Phi Beta Sorority has partnered with the March of Dimes since 1972 to encourage women to seek prenatal care within the first trimester of pregnancy through a two-tiered program of incentives and education. Stork’s Nest clients earn points toward incentives, such as maternity or baby care items, by participating in health-promoting activities like attending prenatal care appointments, participating in prenatal education classes and keeping appointments for well-baby visits.

Nationwide, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. sponsors over 175 Stork’s Nests serving nearly 30,000 women.

Locally, the Stork’s Nest is sponsored by the Healthy Start Coalition and a collaboration between the March of Dimes and the Beta Alpha Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. Inc.