The goals of the March of Dimes North Carolina Preconception Health Campaign are to reduce infant mortality, birth defects, premature birth, and chronic health conditions in women, while also aiming to increase intended pregnancies. Our objectives are to improve women’s wellness, improve reproductive outcomes, and reduce health disparities. Because overweight/obesity impact so many health outcomes, the Campaign decided to focus its initial efforts on promoting healthy weight for women, in addition to promoting folic acid.
Over half of North Carolina women are overweight or obese. Overweight/obesity is linked to negative health conditions for both the mother and her future child. While there are many programs in the state as well as nationally that address healthy weight, very few of them actually focus on women of reproductive age. The Campaign believes that our experience reaching women in this group, as well as those who influence them, will allow us to achieve success with this new campaign.
We also seek to achieve the following objectives:
- Reduce the number of pregnancies affected by neural tube defects in North Carolina by increasing the daily consumption of multivitamins with folic acid
- Encourage women of childbearing age to take multivitamins with the recommended daily amount of folic acid every day, making the habit a community norm
- Persuade women’s health care providers to educate their patients on the importance of taking multivitamins with adequate amounts of folic acid each day
- Coordinate our efforts with the North Carolina Birth Defects Registry and evaluate them on a regular basis
- Advocate for favorable health policies and adequate Campaign resources
- Educate males and females about the importance of having a reproductive life plan