|Image from HERE|
Due to privacy issues, there are very few volunteering opportunities involving babies.
However, there are many volunteering opportunities involving expectant mothers.
Low Birthweight babies
One possibility is for Belladonna to help mothers who are at high risk for low birthweight babies. This cause has resonance for Bella because she knows some kids who were low birthweight baby (i.e., 3lb) and she has seen their struggles. Low birthweight babies are a cause that has a personal, gut-level meaning for Bella.
Her current plan is to make the transition to college and establish contacts. Then, starting her sophomore year to throw herself into volunteering. (Note: The plan is for Bella to NOT have a car her freshmen year so she can concentrate on her studies).
What can one person do?
According to March-of-Dimes about one baby in every twelve is a low birthweight baby. Further, certain populations are at higher risk than others.
Premature birth and fetal growth restriction may be caused by conditions that affect your baby in the womb. These include:
- Birth defects. These are health conditions that a baby has at birth. Birth defects change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body. They can cause problems in overall health, how the body develops, or in how the body works. They may limit a baby’s development in the womb, which may lead to low birthweight. Babies with birth defects are more likely than babies without birth defects to be born prematurely.
Also according to March-of-Dimes expectant mothers can take the following steps to reduce the risk of having a low birthweight baby
- Don’t smoke, drink alcohol or take street drugs. Ask your provider about programs in your area that can help you quit. ---Not much Bella can do to move the needle on this.
- Go to your first prenatal care appointment as soon as you think you’re pregnant. During pregnancy, go to all your prenatal care appointments, even if you’re feeling fine. Prenatal care helps your provider make sure you and your baby are healthy. ---Bella can help with this
- Talk to your provider about your weight. Ask how much weight you should gain during pregnancy. Try to get to a healthy weight before your next pregnancy.
- Get treated for chronic health conditions, like thyroid problems, diabetes and high blood pressure. ---Bella can help with this
- Protect yourself from infections. Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom or blowing your nose. Don’t eat raw meat or fish. Have safe sex. Don’t touch cat poop. ---Bella can help with this
- Reduce your stress. Exercise, be active and eat healthy foods. Ask for help from family and friends. Get help if your partner abuses you. Talk to your boss about how to lower your stress at work. ---Bella can help with this
- Talk to your provider about how long to wait between pregnancies. See your provider for a preconception checkup before your next pregnancy. ---Bella can help with this
|Enclosed kitty litter boxes reduce the likelihood of contaminated litter intruding into the common living space.|
Bella can give rides to expectant mothers so they won't miss their doctor's appointments. She can be an exercise buddy for one or more expectant mothers. She can pass out hand sanitizer, secure kitty-litter boxes and kitty-litter box liners. This is all very labor intensive. She will not be able to help hundreds of mothers. But she can certainly make a difference for several of them.