March of Dimes Speaks to Dads to Be

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Jamie Lober, a nationally-recognized, trustworthy voice on healthcare issues A-Z was selected to take on a cause that she describes as the future, as Public Relations Chairman for the March of Dimes – Palm Beach Division. Also the Public Relations Chairman for the American Cancer Society – South Palm Beach Chapter where she is making a strong pitch for the signature Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk, there is no doubt that women’s health is her true love and her forte. “I always had a special interest in obstetrics and gynecology but since Father’s Day is approaching, I want to take a different approach and talk to the dads to be out there,” said Lober. Lober plays up her belief that she feels men should be involved in womens’ lives which should include having an active role in the healthcare process. “Men should learn as much as they can about pregnancy; be supportive; and accompany women to prenatal visits,” said Lober. Lober is quick to add that she does not know what she would do without the involvement of her grandfather and a handful of guys that she refers to as her best friends all of whom taught her the importance of taking good care of herself. Lober expresses that the support should be more than just words of encouragement; it should be in the form of assistance in making healthy lifestyle choices. “Men should do something active with their partner everyday; make healthy food choices; do not smoke, drink or do drugs; and be understanding of the fact that there are changes going on in the woman’s body that can cause her to feel tired or have mood swings,” said Lober. On the subject of eating well, whole grains, pasta, fruits and vegetables, chicken, low fat meat and low fat milk or cheese are at the top of the list. If you are a smoker and struggling, your healthcare provider or the local American Cancer Society can help you quit and avoid premature birth. “Men may not realize that some prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications can harm the baby and should be sure their partner is open with the obstetrician about all that she is taking to be sure it is safe,” said Lober. Environmental variables seem to play an equal role in having a healthy pregnancy. “Men can help to keep the stress level low, let the woman rest, find out what exercises are safe and see that their partner stays away from dangerous household products like pesticides, paint and cat litter,” said Lober. Men should only engage in safe sexual behavior. “This means being monogamous to avoid sexually transmitted infections, getting tested for HIV and understanding that sex during pregnancy does not hurt the baby but can be unsafe if the woman has a history of miscarriage, risk factors for preterm birth, an incompetent cervix or unexplained vaginal bleeding, discharge or cramping,” said Lober. The bottom line is that men need to be a support and part of the team as their partner makes decisions about healthcare. “One decision we encourage is breastfeeding because breast milk has benefits to the mom and baby’s health and is the best nutrition for the baby,” said Lober. Though most pregnancies go smoothly, Lober does not close the conversation without emphatically making a request which makes it crystal clear that she is the best-suited voice for the March of Dimes. “The most obvious way men can protect their partner and baby is to know the signs of preterm labor and call the obstetrician immediately if they notice any such as contractions every ten minutes or more often; pelvic pressure; low, dull backache; change in vaginal discharge; cramps that feel like a period; or abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea,” said Lober. Lober tells that it only takes having one sign to be cause for concern. “The take home message for dads to be is to realize that decisions they make before and during pregnancy can help the baby be born healthy and strong and that men matter,” said Lober. While she hones in on the importance of dads to be becoming educated on pregnancy and helping out, she comes across equally passionate about the mission of the March of Dimes. “Of course as Public Relations Chairman I intend to continue providing information to all who will listen in order to promote full-term pregnancies and healthy babies but I would not be doing the organization any justice without mentioning that we are researching problems that threaten babies and we are working on preventing them,” said Lober. With Lober as their voice for Palm Beach County, we can rest assured that the March of Dimes’ 2014 preterm birth report card will be better than years past.