PROVIDENCE - Show Your Love, a new national campaign, launches today, Valentine's Day, with messages about the importance of engaging in healthy behaviors before making the decision to conceive a child. The campaign was developed by the Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative (PHHCI), in partnership with the Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), preconception focuses on women and men taking important steps now to protect their health and the health of the family they may want to have in the future. Women who take steps to improve their health — such as eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, and addressing chronic health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure — are better prepared for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
"Living a healthy lifestyle is a way to show love to yourself, your partner and your family's future, long before a specific pregnancy is planned," said Michael Fine, M.D., director of HEALTH. "While most women know that improving their health is important once they become pregnant, many women and men don't know that improving their health before conception and pregnancy is also critically important."
"Preconception health is important for all women and men, including those who are not yet planning a pregnancy," Dr. Fine continued. "HEALTH encourages all Rhode Islanders of childbearing age to make discussions about love, sex, relationships and family part of an annual visit with their primary care physician."
The national Show Your Love campaign focuses on women ages 18 to 44 and is designed to speak both to women who are currently planning to become pregnant, as well as those for whom pregnancy might not be in the immediate future. The campaign includes a series of educational materials, as well as social media messages.
The PHHCI is focused on promoting health and wellness for women of childbearing age. Members represent national, state, and local organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), March of Dimes Foundation, state health departments, and local affiliates of national organizations.
Follow the Show Your Love campaign on Facebook (www.facebook.com/healthri) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/rihealth) using the hashtag #SYLToday #RI. Women planning a pregnancy can find local information at www.health.ri.gov/for/womenplanningpregnancy