Pregnancy…Making It Last 40 Weeks

suhyeon-choi-251615Today we are going to start our discussion by painting a picture with our minds. Envision the sights, sounds, and even smells of this description and drift into the shoes of this couple that is about to be described. It’s the beginning of November, the air that once felt like fall now brings about the chilling winds of winter. A couple expecting their very first child rushes about their home early in the morning to prepare for their work day. The aroma of breakfast cooking on the stove fills the home as the expectant mother slowly sits down at the kitchen table to have a morning meal. Only moments after taking a seat, the mother’s water breaks. Shrills of excitement fill the mother’s and father’s voice as they rush to deliver their baby at exactly 40 weeks. Delivery is difficult of course, but after a long night, a beautiful baby is placed in the arms of the mother. After spending a couple of days in the hospital, the couple is sent home with their new bundle of joy. We wish every single delivery could go as smoothly as the one described, but we know this scenario is not the reality for so many parents.

Parents all hope for routine deliveries that provide them with a healthy baby who can return home in just a few short days, but many babies are born into this world before spending 40 weeks in the womb. In these emotionally trying times, babies are not sent home after delivery, but usually placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). No parent should have to watch their precious newborn from afar, but thousands of parents have to visit their baby in the NICU each year. As November marks National Prematurity Awareness Month, let’s take an opportunity to discuss prematurity further and how parents can promote a healthy and full-term pregnancy.

Prematurity among infants is a public health concern in the United States. Each year, roughly 400,000 babies are born preterm leaving about 1 in 10 infants to face prematurity in the year 2015 (Barfield, 2016; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2017). These numbers pose a serious threat to babies as preterm birth has been listed as one of the top 5 leading causes of infant death in past years (CDC, 2017). The American Academy of Pediatrics (2015) explains that a baby is considered preterm when they are born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Infants born prematurely can face a number of concerns. These concerns include: respiratory problems, feeding difficulties, cerebral palsy, developmental delay, and problems with hearing and vision (CDC, 2017). As a home visitor, it is highly likely that your heart breaks at the thought of a baby being born into a world where they have to fight extra hard to keep up every day. Prematurity is a difficult topic to discuss as we don’t want to think that the smallest humans in the world are starting out life with struggles. Luckily, research is showing there are precautions that can be taken to promote a healthy and full-term pregnancy.

It is important to mention that even what seems like the healthiest of pregnancies can end in a preterm birth (CDC, 2016). There is no way we can guarantee parents that their pregnancy will be problem free. Despite this, research has identified factors that can increase the risk of preterm labor (CDC, 2016; Thomas, Copen, Kirmeyer, 2016). These factors include:

• Cigarette smoking

• Substance abuse

• Stress

• Depression

• Short interpregnancy intervals

Many of these factors may seem out of your control, but there are ways you can help. That’s right, you as a home visitor have wonderful opportunities to talk with parents about how they can have a healthy pregnancy! You even have your Growing Great Kids (GGK) and Growing Great Families Curricula (GGF) available to you which provides conversation guides around what can be uncomfortable subject matter. For example, you might be thinking how do I even begin a conversation around using drugs or smoking while pregnant? These are extremely difficult conversations to have with parents, but not to worry. There are modules like Healthy Pregnancy…Healthy Baby that provide a conversation guide around prenatal smoking and drug use. GGF even offers numerous modules on stress which we learned can be a contributing factor in preterm birth. Before wrapping up this discussion, please review the list of GGK and GGF modules that can provide support for healthy pregnancies and help prevent preterm births.

Growing Great Kids Prenatal Manual

Unit 2 Module 3: Prenatal Depression In Moms And Dads Is Not Uncommon

Unit 3: Module 3 Healthy Pregnancy… Healthy Baby

Unit 4: Module 2 Power Down Stress…Power Up Happiness

Growing Great Families Manual

Unit 2: Module 2…Sizing Up Your Strengths…Reducing Stress

Unit 2: Module 5… Warning Signs For Stress Overload

Unit 3: Module 10…Planning A Family

Unit 3: Module 8…When Depression Is A Concern

November is a busy month as the holiday season begins and the new year approaches, but in the hustle and bustle of the month, don’t forget it is National Prematurity Awareness Month. Remember, you have the ability to help prevent preterm births using modules like the ones listed above. The factors that can cause preterm birth can be hard subjects to discuss, but there are already conversation guides created to make these conversations easier. We hope you have enjoyed this discussion and that have a wonderful November. Please go forth and share with parents how to turn healthy pregnancies into healthy babies!

References

American Academy of Pediatrics. 2015. Caring for a premature baby: What parents need to know. Retrieved from: https://www.healthychildren.org

Barfield, W. 2016. National prematurity awareness month: Celebrating successes and taking           action. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2017. Infant mortality. Retrieved from:           https://www.cdc.gov

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2017. Preterm birth. Retrieved from:           https://www.cdc.gov

Thomas, M. E., Copen, C. E., & Kirmeyer, S. E. 2016. Short interpregnancy intervals in     2014: Differences by maternal demographic characteristics. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov

 

Recent Posts

The Next Generation

The Next Generation

Great Kids has been up to some exciting things for the past couple of years, and we are finally ready to share with the rest of the world! We have completed our most comprehensive update of our GGK Prenatal to 36 months (GGK P36) curriculum series – we call it the “GGK P36 NEXT GENERATION” series. It has been a labor of love for us. We intentionally reviewed all components of the curriculum, listened to feedback from the field, and incorporated the best practices in early childhood for our revisions, and the result is spectacular.

read more
Welcoming a New Sibling

Welcoming a New Sibling

In today’s technology-driven world, it seems so much simpler to capture special moments. Most of us usually have our phone handy, so...

read more

Let’s Play!

We’re going to spend some time talking about the different ways that children play. You’ve probably noticed that all children like to...

read more

Baby Walkers

Like many individuals, I find myself only able to absorb a fraction of the news I see in a day. We live in such a fast-paced world...

read more

Growing Great Kids® Next Generation P-36

Our latest effort to support the work of Home Visiting, our Growing Great Kids® Next Generation (GGK®) Curriculum materials.

GGK® for Preschoolers

A Curriculum & Certification Program for Home Visitors aimed at fostering the growth of nurturing, developmentally enriched parenting skills, building protective factors for children 3 to 5 years old.

Other Products and Training

Great Kids™ is dedicated to supporting programs and practitioners with a variety of curricula and training options.

How to Get Started

Start by scheduling a free 30-minute webinar to learn more about how your organization might benefit from Great Kids™ affordable curriculum with no recurring costs.

Schedule Your Free Webinar Today

Frequently Asked Questions from Our New Customers

Please review common questions for those that are new to Great Kids™. Book your free, personalized webinar to learn more.

For Our Existing Customers

Thank you for being part of the Great Kids™ family of agencies and programs. Support from Great Kids™ is just a click or phone call away.

Pre and Post Certification Products

All the tools you need to start using Great Kids™ Curriculum right away and to continue to enhance the effectiveness of your program. 

Ordering Materials

Need replacement manuals? Want to add to your library of Great Kids™ resources? Find everything you need here.

  • New Products
  • Replacement Materials
  • Spanish Materials Available

Existing Customer FAQs

Are you a past or current customer of Great Kids™? Find common questions and answers here.

Pricing Information for Existing Customers

Find pricing for companion products and other programs.

About Great Kids™

In partnership with home visitors, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of children feel safe and secure, loved and valued, curious and capable.

Research

Great Kids™ has incorporated decades of theoretical and empirical foundations regarding the kinds of interventions that have been shown to make a difference for children into the Growing Great Kids® Prenatal to 5 Years and Growing Great Families® curricula.

Alignment With Program Models

Our curricula are flexible enough to be used within a multitude of program models.

Protective Factors

The research-based principles of the Protective Factors Framework were foundational in the development of the Growing Great Kids® Curriculum.

News and Updates

Find informative articles about growing creativity in young children, welcoming a new sibling, playing outside, as well as general Great Kids™ updates.

Leave Us a Message

Great Kids, Inc.
100 North 72nd Avenue
Wausau, WI 54401