The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is encouraging Oklahoma women to join women across the country in taking steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases during National Women’s Health Week May 11-17. The goal of this observance is to empower women to make their health a priority and understand what it means to be well.


While there is a need to focus on the health of women at all ages, in particular, those of child-bearing age are of concern. Health conditions and risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, tobacco use and alcohol use all have the potential to complicate pregnancy and harm a developing baby. In Oklahoma, 41 percent of new mothers are overweight or obese prior to pregnancy. Recent studies suggest that the heavier a woman is before she becomes pregnant, the greater her risk is of developing a range of pregnancy complications.


The OSDH and its more than 20 partners of the “Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility” initiative to improve birth outcomes and prevent infant mortality in Oklahoma, recommend the following steps toward wellness:


• Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.


• Get active.


• Eat healthy.


• Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.


• Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet.