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For Release:
October 21, 2008

Heather Howard

For Further Information Contact:
Donna Leusner
(609) 984-7160
Dawn Thomas
(609) 984-7160

Commissioner Howard Kicks Off Prenatal Care Campaign


New Brunswick- Department of Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard kicked off a two-month campaign today to raise awareness about the importance of early prenatal care and preconception health in healthy birth outcomes.


The campaign kickoff event, held at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, featured a roundtable discussion between physicians, nurses and maternal and child health experts on effective methods of treating and educating women of reproductive age to ensure they are in optimal health when they enter pregnancy.  Also participating in the forum will be a patient and leaders of a prenatal care task force that the commissioner appointed earlier this year


 “A healthy woman equals a healthy baby,” said Commissioner Howard.  “Every woman should be taking steps to improve her health by eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly and getting checkups. Taking these positive lifestyle steps before and early in pregnancy can prevent future problems and ensure healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.’’


The kickoff of this educational campaign follows the September release of the Prenatal Care Task Force report, which recommended raising awareness of preconception care and family planning services among women before they get pregnant, to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.   


As part of her efforts to raise awareness of the importance of prenatal health, Commissioner Howard will visit Federally Qualified Health Centers, Women, Infant and Children clinics, college campuses, a conference for women and a baby shower for pregnant women and expectant fathers. During these visits, Commissioner Howard will emphasize the need for women to maintain a healthy lifestyle before, during and in between pregnancies.


“As a regional perinatal center and one of the largest maternity centers in the state, we have seen the benefits of prenatal care for both mother and newborn,” said Alfred Glover, president and chief executive officer of Saint Peter’s University Hospital. “We have found the educational component of our mother-baby services to be critical in ensuring the health of our new moms and their babies, especially for our high-risk mothers and the nearly 1,400 newborns we care for in our neonatal intensive care unit each year. We are pleased to be working in conjunction with the Commissioner on this important health issue.”


Early prenatal care is an essential component of a healthy pregnancy. It offers the best opportunity for risk assessment, health education, and the management of pregnancy-related complications and conditions.  With nearly one third of all pregnancies in New Jersey unintended, mistimed or unwanted, preconception care is essential for women of childbearing age. Preconception care—before a woman becomes pregnant—provides health promotion, screening and interventions to reduce risk factors that affect pregnancies.


As part of this educational campaign, DHSS will distribute posters, in English and Spanish, highlighting basic recommendations for preconception and prenatal health, such as eating food with folic acid, getting regular checkups and exercising regularly.  The posters will be placed in physician offices, WIC clinics and other areas that women frequent such as hair and nail salons and ladies restrooms. The poster can also be downloaded from the Department web site at



Commissioner’s Prenatal Care Awareness Campaign Schedule


Tuesday, October 21 – 9:30AM

Prenatal Care Roundtable Kick-off Event

Saint Peter’s University Hospital

254 Easton Avenue

New Brunswick


Wednesday, October 22 – 9AM

Northern New Jersey Maternal Child Health Consortium Annual Meeting

Bergen Community College

Technology Education Center

400 Paramus Road



Wednesday, October 22 – 11AM

Irvington Community Health Center Grand Opening

1148-1150 Springfield Avenue



Wednesday, October 22 – 1:30PM

Newark WIC Clinic

110 William Street



Monday, October 27 -11:30AM

Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies

Community Baby Health and Safety Shower

Shiloh Baptist Church

340 Rev. Dr. S. Howard Woodson Jr. Way (Calhoun St.)



Saturday, November 8 – 8:30AM

Garden State Woman Magazine 4th Annual Health and Wellness Conference


55 Corporate Drive



Wednesday, November 12 – 9:30AM

March of Dimes

Release of 2008 Premature Birth Report Card

Virtua Health West Jersey Hospital

101 Carnie Blvd.



Tuesday, November 18 – 10AM

Asbury Park FQHC

1301 Main Street

Asbury Park


Monday, November 24 – 11AM

Camden WIC Clinic

2600 Mt. Ephram Ave, Suite 411



Monday, December 1 – 8AM

March of Dimes “Celebration of New Beginnings”

Hyatt Regency

2 Albany Street

New Brunswick


Tuesday, December 2 – 10AM

Planned Parenthood Event 

171-175 Market Street



Thursday, December 18 – 10AM

Jersey City FQHC

714 Bergen Avenue Jersey City, NJ

Jersey City
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