Community Prevention


All members of the community have a role to play in supporting healthy births. It is important to know that preventing low birth weight starts early, that is, long before a pregnancy happens.
Here's what you can do:


Community members

  • Respect smoke-free public places - never smoke around a pregnant woman
  • Offer your seat on the bus to a pregnant passenger
  • Be ready to offer help to a pregnant woman if you see that she needs it
  • Respect courtesy parking spaces for pregnant women
  • Advocate with elected officials for healthy environments in the community
  • Advocate for including reproductive health promotion information, including preconception health information in school curricula
  • Advocate for more funding for research into preterm birth prevention, including prevention of multiple pregnancies resulting from fertility treatments


Friends and colleagues

  • Let your pregnant friend know that you are there to listen or to lend a hand when needed
  • Respect her choice to not smoke or drink alcohol
  • Avoid smoking around any pregnant woman
  • At work, offer to go for a walk with her at break or lunch time
  • Offer to pick up a healthy snack for her
  • Offer to help so that she does not have to do any heavy lifting or strenuous work, e.g. long periods of standing
  • Learn about preterm labour, the signs and what to do if it happens so that you can support your pregnant friend or colleague in her decisions
  • Remember that the partner of a pregnant woman may need a 'friendly ear' too



  • Provide a well-ventilated, smoke-free environment for all employees
  • Support pregnant employees by continuing to offer them opportunities for training and advancement
  • Allow time for prenatal care visits - consider this same flexibility for an employee whose partner is pregnant
  • Support and/or offer programs that promote a healthy lifestyle, e.g. 'lunch-and-learn" sessions or on-site prenatal classes
  • Offer to reassign or modify work duties for a pregnant employee especially if her regular duties involve heavy lifting, prolonged periods of standing, or exposure to high temperatures, noise or toxic substances
  • Provide a space, if possible for resting during lunch time or breaks
  • Advocate for healthy food choices in your cafeteria and vending machines
  • Provide through employee health services, where appropriate, information about promoting healthy pregnancy and information about how to recognize and respond to preterm labour


Low birth weight is costly to the health care system.
True  |  False more questions
© 2019 Ottawa Coalition for the Prevention of Low Birth Weight
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