Tag Archives: pregnancy

Folic Acid Awareness Week: This Vitamin Helps Guard Against Birth Defects

This week — January 7-13 — is Folic Acid Awareness Week. Did you know that taking folic acid before and during early pregnancy can prevent up to 70 percent of some serious birth defects of the brain and spine?

Folic acid is a B vitamin that is necessary for proper cell growth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Public Health Service recommend that all women between the ages of 15 and 45 consume 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily to prevent two types of neural tube defects, spina bifida and anencephaly. These birth defects develop within the first few weeks of pregnancy, which is why it’s important to have enough folic acid in your body BEFORE becoming pregnant and to continue getting enough during early pregnancy.

Every woman needs folic acid daily, whether she’s planning to get pregnant or not. For one thing, almost half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned.  Also, folic acid helps the body make healthy new cells. The body — the skin, hair, nails and other parts of the body — makes healthy new cells daily.
Women who could possibly become pregnant can consume 400 mcg of folic acid every day by:

  • taking a daily multi-vitamin containing folic acid, and
  • eating fortified foods like grains, pastas, or breakfast cereals.

For more information on folic acid, visit the CDC website or the National Birth Defects Prevention Network website.

FolicAcid Fact Sheet

Protect Yourself and Baby: Get Your Flu Shot

Catching the flu is never good, especially when you’re pregnant. The flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than those who are not pregnant. DHEC is encouraging pregnant women to get their flu shots.

As of November 2017, the influenza vaccination coverage among pregnant women before and during pregnancy was 35.6 percent, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Panel Survey.

“The percentage is alarming because it means that almost two-thirds of pregnant women are potentially not protected,” said Dr. Tracy Foo, DHEC’s Immunization and Acute Disease Epidemiology Division. “Pregnant women are encouraged to get their flu shot because it’s never too late to protect yourself and your baby.”

The flu shot is the first and most important step in protecting against the illness. When given during pregnancy, the flu shot has been shown to protect both the mother and baby for several months after birth. The flu shot can be administered during any trimester of pregnancy.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Symptoms may include a sudden onset of fever, cough, headache or muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat, and nasal congestion or stuffiness. Any pregnant woman experiencing these symptoms is urged to contact their healthcare provider immediately. The flu is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death.

Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, and pharmacies, as well as by many employers. Even if you don’t have a regular doctor or nurse, you can get a flu vaccine somewhere else like a health department, pharmacy, and urgent care clinic. You can find your local flu clinic on DHEC’s website.

DHEC in the News: Teen birth rate, Charleston Water System’s 100th anniversary, rabies

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Teen birth rate continues to drop in South Carolina

The teen birth rate in South Carolina continues to decline, new numbers published by the S.C. Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy show.

Between 2015 and 2016, the teen birth rate in the state dropped by 9 percent. Last year, looking specifically at the 15- to 19-year-old cohort, an average 23.8 of every 1,000 females gave birth.

On 100th anniversary, Charleston Water System digs up a bit of its well water past

Charleston soon will mark a modern milestone: The 100th anniversary of the city’s owning its own water system.

To observe the October occasion, the Charleston Water System isn’t burying a time capsule but it has been digging one up.

1 person potentially exposed to rabies by cat in Greenville Co.

SIMPSONVILLE, SC (WSPA) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says that one person was potentially exposed to rabies by a stray cat that tested positive for the disease.

DHEC says that two stray cats were seen fighting before one turned on the victim, who was scratched.

TEAM SPARTANS moving the dial on teen pregnancy

By Maxine Williams, APRN, FNP, BC
Upstate Region Program Director

What better way is there to observe National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month than to recognize a county health department’s strong efforts to help reduce teen pregnancy?

To do that, we need look no further than the Spartanburg County Health Department. While no one entity or factor alone can be cited as the sole reason for the drop Spartanburg has seen in teen pregnancy rates, the county health department has done its part.

The health department has seen teenage pregnancy rates drop dramatically, due in part to a five-year grant that ended last year from the Centers for Prevention and Disease Control. While the goal was to reduce the teen pregnancy rate in the county by 10 percent, Spartanburg far surpassed that, reducing the rate 48 percent.

As it continued to work toward reducing rates, the health department participated in a learning collaborative throughout 2015 that gave it an opportunity to explore additional ways to effectively address teen pregnancy. Spartanburg was chosen for the collaborative, in part, because of its experience with addressing teen pregnancy via the CDC grant, which allowed the health department to build infrastructure in the community and take steps to increase teens’ access to services, among other things.

Spartanburg County Health Department, Upstate Region, was able to participate in the year-long experience thanks to funding from The Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of South Carolina. The funds were administered by the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and the Center for Health Services and Policy Research (USC CHSPR) at the University of South Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health. The SC Campaign and USC CHSPR are partnering to implement the South Carolina Adolescent Reproductive Health Institute to facilitate health clinics’ adoption of evidence-based practices that can improve teen pregnancy prevention outcomes.

Groups participating in the year-long experience devised strategies and concepts using continuous quality improvement, or CQI. TEAM SPARTANS — a name chosen by team members — developed measurable goals to improve teen service provision at the Spartanburg County Health Department.

TEAM SPARTANS implemented several innovative strategies, including assessing data to determine when teens accessed services the most and when availability of services needed to be increased to meet peak demand. As a result of these strategies, the health department was able to serve a caseload of 734 — a 36 percent increase from the previous year’s caseload of 537. The members of TEAM SPARTANS (pictured above, left to right) included Maxine Williams, Program Director; Stephanie Bobak, Operations Director; Kenya Farley, PHRN, PH Team Leader; and Mike Newman, Spartanburg County Site Supervisor.

Leadership Collaborative 3

As part of the year-long learning collaborative, Kenya Farley served on a panel to discuss TEAM SPARTANS’ project aimed at improving teen service provision.

Moving the dial downward on teen pregnancy is what National Teen Pregnancy Month is all about. Held each May, the month is set aside to raise community awareness and support of effective teen pregnancy prevention initiatives. The month also serves as a catalyst for year-round efforts to support effective pregnancy prevention strategies and programs.

U.S. teen pregnancy and birth rates have declined dramatically over the past two decades and are now at historic lows. There has been significant progress in all 50 states and among all racial/ethnic groups. That said, U.S. rates of teen childbearing remain far higher than in other comparable countries, and continued education and access to services remain key to helping teens prevent unintended pregnancy.

The Spartanburg County experience illustrates continued vigilance to help move the dial.

What is text4baby?

By Betsy Crick

Text4Baby

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re pregnant or have a baby under one year, you can sign up to receive free text messages on prenatal, infant care, and more.

Sign up now – text BABY (BEBE in Espanol) to 511411.

You’ll receive three text messages each week, timed to your due date or your baby’s first birthday.  Messages begin during your pregnancy and go through your baby’s first year.  You’ll get information on prenatal and infant care, immunization, developmental milestones, nutrition, oral health, quitting smoking, safety, and more.  There is also a free Text4baby app available on the App Store and on Google Play that provides additional information about baby’s development, pregnancy, childcare tips, and more.

If you have service with one of the below major cell phone carriers, text4baby text messages are free:

Capture

Looking for information on medicines and pregnancy?  The FDA Office of Women’s Health has free materials and videos to help you make good choices about the medicines and other products that are safe for you and your baby.

For more information about the free text4baby service offered through Zero to Three, please visit the text4baby website.