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New York City Seal
Press Release
NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene
Office of Communications
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Sandra Mullin/Andrew Tucker
Monday, October 28, 2002
(212) 788-5290
(877) 640-1347

NYC DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND MENTAL HYGIENE ISSUES
NEW EDUCATIONAL MATERIALS FOR WOMEN
CONSIDERING PREGNANCY

"Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies" Informs Women How to Properly Care for Themselves and Baby
Before, During and After Pregnancy

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) today announced that, as part of its citywide Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative, new educational materials including a brochure and video entitled Health Mothers, Healthy Babies are being distributed to community based organizations citywide. The materials are aimed at new mothers and women considering pregnancy and inform them about the importance of planning a pregnancy. The brochure and video are currently available in both English and Spanish and will soon be available in Haitian Creole; the brochure will also be translated into French.

Mary Bassett, M.D., M.P.H., Deputy Commissioner of DOHMH's Division of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention said, "This new phase of the Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative stresses the importance of women preparing themselves for the demands and challenges of pregnancy by taking steps to ensure their preconception health. This means scheduling regular visits with a medical provider to discuss appropriate types of exercise and vitamin intake, how to prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, when to stop contraception, and discontinuing tobacco, alcohol and/or drug use, which can contribute to complications during pregnancy and birth."

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) awareness month. SIDS is the diagnosis given for the unexplained death of an infant under one year of age. Nationally, the number of SIDS deaths has fallen in recent years, coinciding with the national "Back to Sleep" public education campaign urging parents to put babies to sleep on their backs. There were 20 cases of SIDS reported in New York City in 2001.

Number of Reported SIDS Deaths in New York City: 1990, 1995-2001

1990
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
Reported
SIDS
Deaths
135
72
64
51
35
40
50
20

To reduce your baby's risk for SIDS:

  • Always put your baby on his or her back to sleep;
  • Use a firm, flat crib mattress,
  • Limit bedding to a fitted sheet and firm bumpers;
  • Keep the thermostat no higher than 70 degrees;
  • Keep toys, stuffed animals, and comforters out of the crib;
  • Don't let anyone smoke in the baby's environment;
  • Make sure the baby's head is not covered while in the crib; and
  • Avoid sharing a bed with the baby.

Additionally, to help keep your baby healthy: don't let anyone smoke near your baby, consider breastfeeding your baby for one year, make sure your baby gets all appropriate immunizations, and take your baby for well-baby check-ups.

DOHMH has a number of public health prevention initiatives that target women of child bearing age, including the Women's Healthline, (212/718 230-1111) a multilingual telephone service that provides information on a range of reproductive issues as well as referral for health care and appointments for prenatal care; Maternal, Infant, and Reproductive Health program sites which provide free pregnancy testing and intensive outreach to pregnant women through health education, counseling, workshops, and case management services from pregnancy through the first year of the infant's life; and Healthy Start Brooklyn, a federally funded program which offers, pregnancy, postpartum and interconception clinical services, postpartum depression counseling, and case management from pregnancy through year two of an infants life.

New York City offers many resources for prospective mothers, including:

  • New York Smokers' Quitline (1-888-609-6292);
  • Great Start Quitline – for pregnant smokers operated – by American Legacy Foundation (1-866-667-8278);
  • LIFENET for free, confidential counseling and referrals (1-800-LIFENET/543-3638);
  • HealthStat for free or low-cost health insurance (1-888-NYC-6116);
  • Early Intervention Program for evaluation and services for babies with developmental problems (1-800-577-BABY/2229);
  • Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-621-HOPE/4673); and
  • Women's Healthline (212- or 718-230-1111).

For more information, New Yorkers can call DOHMH toll free at 1-877-NYC-DOH7 (1-877-692-3647) or visit nyc.gov/health.

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