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March of Dimes: Healthy Babies Come From Healthy Mothers

CLEBURNE, Texas — One in seven Texas babies is born premature. Any pregnant woman is at risk for premature labor, but to lessen those chances women can work with their doctors before even becoming pregnant, according to the March of Dimes.

“Health before conception impacts the baby,” said Dr. Ray Ford, a physician on the medical staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne. “Whenever possible, women can work to improve their health before becoming pregnant to increase their chances of having a healthy baby.”

Texas Health Resources supports the efforts of the March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing prematurity. Together they are committed to improving the health of all women and babies across North Texas.

Texas lags beyond the national average, where one in eight babies is born premature.

To help improve those odds, Texas Health Resources CEO Doug Hawthorne, FACHE, is leading the 2009 March for Babies in Dallas and Fort Worth. The March for Babies walk, which will be held April 18, raises money for research, education and programs to help all babies achieve a healthy start to life. For more information on the partnership between Texas Health and March of Dimes or to register to walk, visit

To help increase their chances of a healthy delivery, the March of Dimes recommends that women ask their physician or nurse the following questions before or during a pregnancy:

  • How can diabetes, high blood pressure, infections or other conditions affect pregnancy?
  • How can certain medicines and home remedies affect pregnancy?
  • How does taking a multivitamin with folic acid daily help?
  • What is a healthy weight before pregnancy?
  • What are tips to avoid cigarettes, alcohol and illegal drugs?
  • How can I avoid unsafe chemicals at home and at work?
  • What are tips for lowering stress?
  • What from my family history do I need to know about before pregnancy?

“Taking simple precautions before pregnancy can help contribute to a healthy pregnancy,” Ford said. “Even with the best care and no risk factors a premature birth is possible, but women should seek as much information as possible to help their pregnancy.”

For more pregnancy tips or information about after the birth, visit

About Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne
Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne is a 137-bed acute-care, full-service medical center serving Cleburne and the Johnson County area since 1986. The hospital's services include surgery, women and infant services, urology, orthopedics and ear, nose and throat care. Texas Health Cleburne has been recently recognized for the Texas Health Care Quality Improvement award from TMF, the 2007 Premier/Carescience Select Practice National Quality Award and the 2007 Premier Award for Quality for Heart Failure. For more information, please call 1-877-THR-WELL.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. Texas Health’s system of 13 hospitals includes Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospitals, Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospitals, and a medical research organization. Texas Health is a corporate member or partner in six additional hospitals and surgery centers. For more information about Texas Health, visit

Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital.

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