showyourloveAn American health initiative launched this Valentine's Day [14 Feb] is urging women to show love to their future child by adopting healthy habits well before becoming pregnant.

Show Your Love is a new national campaign developed by the Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative (PHHCI) in partnership with the March of Dimes North Carolina Preconception Health Campaign (NCPHC), and is aimed a helping women prepare for healthy pregnancies.

Amy Mullenix, coordinator of the NCPHC in Carolina said: "Living a healthy lifestyle is a way to show love to yourself and your future baby, long before a baby is in the plans. By taking a few simple steps toward becoming as healthy as possible before pregnancy, a woman can experience long-lasting benefits for herself and her future children.

Preconception health focuses on women taking important steps to protect their health and the health of the family they may want to have sometime in the future. These steps can include working with their doctors to control and treat medical conditions, quitting smoking, drinking less alcohol, becoming physically active, and making healthy food choices.

“While most women know that improving their health once they become pregnant is important, many women don’t know that improving their health before pregnancy – even long before it’s a consideration – is also important,” added Sarah Verbiest, Executive Director at the UNC Center for Maternal and Infant Health, senior advisory consultant to PCHHCI and member of the NCPHC’s executive committee.

The campaign will focus on women during their childbearing years, between the ages of 18 and 44. The campaign is designed to speak both to women who are currently planning to become pregnant, as well as those for whom pregnancy may not be in their immediate plans.

Following a recent survey from the University of Southampton that showed only 44% of women follow approproved pre-conception health guidelines in the UK, it is hoped health commissioners in England will embrace similar policies.

As part of the Show Your Love campaign, the Initiative has developed a series of educational materials for women 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.

The March of Dimes North Carolina Preconception Health Campaign is also  working with the PHHCI to spread the campaign’s message and materials to women in North Carolina.

The NCPHC is distributing DVDs featuring the PHHCI’s preconception health educational video in English to anyone in North Carolina; providing preconception health trainings throughout the state to health care providers and the general public; providing preconception health education via its website, everywomannc.com; and spreading preconception health messages throughout its social media networks.

The PHHCI is focused on promoting healthy habits among women of childbearing age. Members represent national, state and local organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), March of Dimes Foundation, National Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition, the National Healthy Start Association, state health departments, and local affiliates of national organizations.

For more information on the Show Your Love campaign visit the website at www.cdc.gov/showyourlove

Posted 14/02/2013 by richard.hook@pavpub.com