¡Bienvenidos!: The Revamped Spanish-Language March of Dimes Site Welcomes the Latino Community, Offers Exclusive Tips, Info and Support
"¡Bienvenidos a nacersano y a la familia de March of Dimes!" are some of the words welcoming visitors to the brand new, relaunched Spanish-language March of Dimes website, a site that's geared toward providing valuable, life-saving information to Latina mothers and would-be mothers who are concerned about premature labor or birth defects.
In a conversation with Lilliam Sanchez, the Director of Latino Outreach, Education and Health Promotion at the March of Dimes, and Doug Staples, Senior VP of Strategic Marketing & Communications, Latin Post unearthed the organization's Latino-focused agenda, its dedication to the Latino community, and its efforts to ensure that education and guidance are available to help Latina women produce healthy and happy babies.
Nacersano.org functions as a Spanish-language portal, granting access to conversations and information about conception, pregnancy health, and premature births and birth defects. It's a one-stop destination, offering the "411" on unique challenges that Latinas face when they are conceiving or pregnant. The March of Dimes focuses a great deal on the prevention side, and works to make little-known knowledge visible to those who need it most.
"One piece of information that's available on our site that isn't available anywhere else is our information on folic acid. Folic acid is a B-vitamin that's proven to reduce the risk of neural tube defects of the brain and spine, which includes spina bifida and anencephaly," Sanchez said. "And, unfortunately, babies born to Hispanic women actually have a higher risk or are more likely to be born with defects."
The revamped site offers a new design and new information, including a section called "Folic Acid Recipes," which borrows from South American culinary traditions.
"We're encouraging women to take folic acid before pregnancy and during early pregnancy to reduce the risk of prenatal birth defects," said Sanchez, who began her career at March of Dimes 15 years ago as a health education specialist. "So, we continue to encourage women to take folic acid with multivitamins—which is the best way, yet we also understand that many women don't take the multivitamin, so we try to provide other ways for women to get these essential vitamins."
Educational videos are also available on the attractive and functional website, offering viewers a collection of visual aids that proposes preparation for healthy pregnancies, optimal prenatal care, tips on how to conceive, facts on what labor is like, and how to care for new babies.
"We have a gallery of videos that speaks on contraception, how to have a healthy baby, information about having a preterm baby, information on how your baby grows, etc. And, that's completely new. We know that for this community, providing info via video is really important. So, we tried to focus our attention on that, too," said Sanchez.
A unique service offered on the site is the option to communicate 1 on 1; the organization hired a team of health education specialists who answer personalized, confidential answers for the public.
"The answers range anywhere from 'How do I get pregnant?' to 'How do I deal with a baby being born pre-term?' to 'Are there any health conditions to expect during pregnancy?' It's a function that we've had for years, but it's unique to our non-profit," Sanchez said. "It helps to build long term relationships with our audience... We want Latinas to know that they can trust us and the information that we provide."
The Spanish-language outreach by the March of Dimes has also revealed that social media interactions are important when assisting the Latino American community—after all, young Latinos are notably tethered to technology.
March of Dimes has two Spanish-language Twitter accounts that they manage: one that's specifically about updates on pregnancy and informing women about the March of Dimes, and one about baby health. March of Dimes also has a Spanish-language Facebook page for supporters and viewers to browse when curious about what steps can be taken to have a healthy pregnancy.
With Latina pregnancies, there are a number of risk factors involved, some that can be controlled and some that cannot be. The improved website and the different channels are all geared toward encouraging women to go to their primary care physician for a pre-conception visit; urging women to do early prenatal visits, and to continue to go, even when they're feeling fine. The site insists on folic acid intake, whether one is planning a pregnancy or not. They urg women to learn the signs of pre-term labor. They also suggest that women reach a healthy weight before pregnancy—noting that obesity and high blood pressure can play a role in complications during pregnancy, particularly in the Latin American community. The ongoing "Prematurity Campaign" teaches actionable behavior, informing women of what can be done when they're facing prematurity or seeking prevention tactics.
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