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


Labour is easier when you have a small baby.
True  |  False more questions
© 2019 Ottawa Coalition for the Prevention of Low Birth Weight
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