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    March of Dimes leads trainings across Illinois on culturally appropriate curriculum for pregnant women

    Curriculum to serve as tool for health care agencies and clinics

    CHICAGO, IL, August 14, 2012 —

    Media Contacts:

    Rowena Vergara, rvergara@marchofdimes.com, 312-596-4725

    Jeri Bingham, jbingham@marchofdimes.com, 312-596-4731

    About 80 professionals across Illinois received training for a March of Dimes prenatal education curriculum that can be adapted for ethnic and racial groups who experience greater health risks before or during pregnancies.

    Called Becoming a MomTM/Comenzando Bien® , this bilingual curriculum is designed for pregnant women to learn about having a healthy pregnancy in a supportive group setting. The curriculum was created by the March of Dimes nonprofit, whose mission is dedicated to improving the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. To achieve that goal, March of Dimes funds programs of community service, advocacy, research and education.

    The goals of the curriculum are to: teach women about having a healthy pregnancy; create a supportive environment that promotes healthy behaviors; help participants to overcome barriers to care; and become informed consumers of prenatal care services. The curriculum also includes components geared toward ethnic and racial groups such as Hispanic, African-American and American Indian/Alaska Native.

    The trainings, conducted by March of Dimes Illinois Chapter staff and volunteers, began in mid-July and continued until early August and were held across the state from southern Illinois to Chicago. Some topics include: prenatal care, healthy eating during pregnancy, handling stress, the actual labor and birth, caring for the baby and postpartum care.

    The curriculum usually costs $175, but all organizations participating received a free copy. The all-day trainings were offered to health centers, faith-based organizations, schools and hospitals at the following locations and cities:

    • Southern Illinois Health Care Foundation in Sauget, 13 participants
    • The Baby Fold in Normal, 13 participants
    • Englewood Neighborhood Health Center and Erie Family Health Center in Chicago, 41 participants
    • Boone County government building in Belvidere, 13 participants

    The March of Dimes Illinois Chapter proudly supports programs implementing this curriculum and will evaluate its success in helping to improve pregnancy outcomes. It will join other states in the U.S. in which the curriculum is offered where data and results are being tracked. Becoming a MomTM/Comenzando Bien® is currently offered by the March of Dimes state chapters of California, Texas, Colorado and Kansas.

    In Illinois, the premature birth rate is at 12.4 percent, higher than the national average of 12.2 percent. Additionally, the low birth weight rate for Illinois is at 8.4 percent, compared to 8.2 nationally.

    For more information on Becoming a MomTM/Comenzando Bien®, please contact Anna Blankenberger at the March of Dimes at: 312-765-9031.

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