NEWBURGH - More than 100 expectant parents attended the free Hudson Health Plan sponsored community baby shower at the Delano-Hitch Recreation Park Activity Center in Newburgh last Saturday.
In addition to receiving information on nutrition, lactation, and breast feeding, attendees were also encouraged to "keep that baby inside for 40-42 weeks."
That’s because one out of three births in New York State or 33 percent is by Cesarean section, a risky procedure for both mother and child, according to medical experts. While C-sections are needed when mother or baby is in distress during birth, too many C-sections are pre-scheduled for the convenience of mothers and medical professionals. The World Health Organization estimates that C-sections are medically necessary in only 10 percent to 15 percent of births.
Hudson Health Plan was therefore encouraging mothers-to-be to let nature take its course. That was the big message on Saturday. Joined by several community based organization, Hudson Health Plan informed parents on ways to protect their health and the health of their newborns during the four hour event.
"Pregnancy and birth are wonderful experiences, but there’s a lot for parents to know, explains Janet Sullivan, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Hudson Health Plan, a community-based not-for-profit health plan offering free and low-cost health insurance. "Our Community Baby Shower is designed to educate parents to make healthy choices for their babies, beginning with allowing the baby to come to full term."
A baby born before 39 weeks can appear normal yet might not be fully developed. According to the March of Dimes, a baby’s brain, lungs and liver mature late in pregnancy, including the final weeks before birth. Babies also need those last weeks to develop their sucking and swallowing instincts, hearing, and vision.
Hudson Health Plan’s Community Baby Shower also emphasized the importance of regular prenatal checkups throughout pregnancy. "It’s important for all expectant mothers to seek early and consistent prenatal care for a healthy pregnancy and baby, notes Dr. Sullivan. "The good news is that if you don’t have health insurance, New York State’s Child Health Plus program will cover you during pregnancy."
Guests at the community baby shower were also treated to a healthy lunch, snacks, and had a chance to win free gifts, including two baby strollers, a lactation kit, diapers, play pen, car seat and clothing. There were also educational games, and plenty of free information on resources for new parents and babies. Nurse case managers for Hudson Health Plan’s Mommy & Me program were also on hand to answer questions about prenatal and infant care.
Tamara Ortiz, who is eight months pregnant, said of the event, "Today was very helpful to me as this was my first pregnancy. I learned a lot especially that I need to try to keep the baby in as long as possible because there is still so much development going on." Ortiz says she will try to breast feed her baby girl now that she knows the benefits it provides. "I’m so thankful that this event took place, because I learned so much."