Hispanic women are the new focus for the March of Dimes global ambassador, Thalia. The organization recently released a report highlighting the importance of pregnancy education for Hispanic mothers who are significantly more likely to have a baby with a neural tube birth defect or that is pre-term.
According to the data almost a quarter of all pre-term births in the country are Hispanic, in fact, with Hispanic women having more babies annually than any other race/ethnicity.
The latest March of Dimes report indicates that despite the diversity among Hispanic women, several universal issues that need to be addressed when it comes to pregnancy health. The primary concern is that Hispanic women consume less folic acid compared to other women. This is attributed to a diet high in corn masa flour products. which are not fortified wheat products in the United States. Hispanic women are also less likely to supplement their diet with a multivitamin containing folic acid–mostly because they are unaware they are dietary deficient.
To help bring awareness to pregnant Hispanic women, Mexican songstress and March of Dimes ambassador Thalia has joined Diana Ramos MD, MPH, professor at Keck School of Medicine to speak about health risks Hispanic women face and steps they can take to help give their babies a healthy start in life.
“I supported this mission even before I became a mom, because I appreciate the work the March of Dimes does to improve the health of all babies. I am proud to help with their efforts to focus attention on Latina health. We want women to know that there are things we can do to protect ourselves and our babies, like taking a multivitamin with folic acid before and during pregnancy. There’s nothing more important than the health of our babies,” Thalia said in a press release.
The singer and Grammy award-winner will do her part to educate pregnant Hispanic women by reaching out to them through television, radio and social media. Thalia has also included the March of Dimes in her publishing and music project promotions, including the launch of her upcoming first children’s album, VIVA KIDS, Vol. 1 in the U.S. on June 24.
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“Planning, prenatal care, perpetuating healthy behaviors, are first steps to having a healthy baby. Daily folic acid to prevent birth defects in the baby and a healthy weight are part of planning,” explained Dr. Ramos. “Early prenatal care can identify any potential problems. Once you have your baby, continuing the healthy pregnancy behaviors can help you stay healthy and keep your family healthy.”
The American Pregnancy Association indicates women should start taking folic acid even before they become pregnant, as neural tube defects manifest within the first 28 days of gestation. Four-hundred micrograms of folic acid should be taken daily as per national dietary recommendations, and women who do not supplement with a multivitamin should eat plenty of wheat cereals, rice, pastas, and breads as well as citrus fruits and dark, green vegetables.