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Waco/McLennan County Public Health District

Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait!

Healthy Babies Coalition Goes Purple for Preemies




Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait FAQ

•A "full-term" delivery of 39-40 weeks of pregnancy is ideal!
•Babies born before 37 weeks face a higher risk of health problems
•“Preterm” babies are born before 37 weeks


Why is it important to have a full-term baby?

•Important organs, like the baby’s brain and lungs, need that time to grow.
•Babies need to be born at a healthy weight to keep warm. Early babies might be to too small to keep warm.
•Preterm babies are more likely to have vision and hearing problems, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, breathing problems, and other health issues. 
•Even “late preterm” babies (born at 34-37 weeks) are at higher risk of health issues than full term babies


What can I do to try to have a full-term baby?
•Start prenatal care with Doctor, Midwife, or Nurse-Practitioner as soon as you know you are pregnant and don’t miss any appointments.
•Tell your prenatal care provider that you do not want an induction or C-Section prior to 39 weeks of pregnancy unless you or your baby are in danger
•Eat well-balanced, healthy meals
•Do not diet or try to lose weight
•Do not smoke or be around other people who are smoking
•Do not drink alcohol, including beer and wine
•Do not take drugs or medicine without talking to your healthcare provider first
•Take a prenatal vitamin daily
•Get regular exercise
•Minimize stress
•Seek immediate medical care for any infections you might have
•See a dentist: dental infections can also be a trigger for pre-term birth
•Know the signs of early labor

*Information sources: March of Dimes, City of Milwaukee Health Department


What can put me at risk of not having a full-term baby?
•Having had a preterm baby in the past – let your healthcare provider know if you have ever had a baby come early
•Urinary tract infections (UTIs), Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or dental infections
•Gaining too little or too much weight while you are pregnant
•Having babies too close together -  wait at least a year after your last baby was born to become pregnant again - two years is even better

The March of Dimes maintains blogs and sevral twitter accounts in English and Spanish.

♦ Get daily pregnancy tips at or

♦ Get daily baby-care tips at or

♦ Read the blog at or

♦ Fan the March of Dimes page on Facebook at or is a free texting service for pregnant women that provides regular health messages based on a woman’s due date.


*Information sources: March of Dimes.

Get Involved


                                                                                                                                                                                          We are excited to release the Healthy Babies Coalition Implementation Report for 2011-2013. For more information about the success and impact of the Healthy Babies Coalition click below.

Read the full report here.


The Healthy Babies Coalition is a joint initiative by several community agencies, churches and area hospitals formed to decrease infant mortality in the Waco-McLennan County area. 

The Preterm Birth Rate in Waco-McLennan County (2010) is 10.4 % **   

The average rate among African-American women (16.7) is nearly three times the rate of non-Hispanic whites (5.9) and more than double that of Hispanic women (7.6).***

The HBC will be working to lower that rate by utilizing the March of Dimes' Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait campaign, which focuses on 5 major core components, or the 5 P’s, of lowering risk for infant death: Partnerships and collaborations, Patient initiatives, Provider support, Public engagement, and Progress management.


Meetings are held on the third Thursday of every month at 3:00pm.

To join or for more information call Janet Jones at (254) 750-5481 or email


 As an expectant mother

Attend Becoming a Mom prenatal classes 

Seek accurate prenatal information and pass it along to others

Get early prenatal care, eat healthy and exercise, and avoid smoking

If you have a healthy pregnancy wait at least 39 weeks to deliver


As a community member

Join the Healthy Babies Coalition

Talk to your friend or family member about:

getting early prenatal care

minimizing health risk factors by eating healthy, exercising and not smoking

the importance of waiting at least 39 weeks to deliver


As a community agency

Join the Healthy Babies Coalition

Support the coalition by spreading the word about our efforts in the community

Provide resources in any way suitable for your agency

Preconception Health

Showing your love begins before you get pregnant. Watch this PSA and learn why it is important to show yourself some love, your baby will thank you for it.


Use the SHOW YOUR LOVE checklist for planning a healthy pregnancy.


Preconception Care FAQs
• We know that women who improve their health before pregnancy can be healthier mothers and have healthier babies. Healthier women have less chance of having other problems with pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes, miscarriage, or preterm labor. Their babies have less chance for problems, such aspreterm birth, low birthweight, high birthweight, or stillbirth.
• Preconception health refers to the health of women during their childbearing years before and between pregnancies.
• It is important for women of childbearing age totake steps to quit smoking, get up-to-date on shots, avoid alcohol and tobacco, maintain a healthy weight, and get chronic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, under control before pregnancy.
• Because 49% of pregnancies in the U.S. are not planned, we urge all women of childbearing age to take steps to improve their health now.

What is preconception health and what does it involve?
A woman’shealth before pregnancy is called preconception health (PCH). By improving her health before becoming pregnant, a woman can be better prepared for pregnancy and be as healthy as possible during and after pregnancy. Getting healthier involvestaking steps, such aseating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, and addressing chronic health conditions, e.g. diabetes and high blood pressure.The main goal of PCH is to provide health promotion and education, screening for diseases, and medical care for women of childbearing age (18-44 years) to improve their health and to address factors that might affect future pregnancies (CDC, 2009).

Why is improving preconception health a public health concern?

Women of childbearing age may have health conditions and risk factors that affect their well-being and, should they become pregnant, the well-being of their infant. By addressing health conditions and risk factors before pregnancy,women can improve theirlikelihood of a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, depression, and sexually transmitted diseases (e.g., chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis) are among the medical conditions that impact pregnancy outcomes by increasing risk factors for disease and complications among women of childbearing age (D'Angelo D, et al., 2007; CDC, 2012; CDC, 2011; Chaterjee S, 2008).




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