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The MommyStrong experience at the Help Me Grow National Forum

This year I was honored to be chosen to do a poster presentation at the Help Me Grow National forum. Help Me Grow is an evidenced based parent support program. It promotes early childhood development and connects parents with resources. It was brought to my attention that Help Me Grow would have there annual forum in Buffalo NY this year.

I was intrigued, how I could connect what Help Me Grow does with what MommyStrong does in one very specific area. I needed to grab the attention of people who are already very informed and experienced. These are professionals who work with young families everyday. How could I teach them anything?

I started by thinking about what it is that I am curious about. What do I instinctively think is true but have not done the research and have not proven to be true?

This brought me to one of my favorite subjects "Prenatal Fitness". If I combine child development from Help Me Grow and prenatal fitness from MommyStrong what are the benfits to the children long term.

The research began...

There are many studies that look at the mothers health during pregnancy. How the mother's fitness effects her labor and birth. These topics do interest me but I have seen them in real time, real life and have worked with enough pregnant people to know that there is a positive benefit in these areas. As a certified prenatal and postnatal fitness instructor I have read and studied all of the new information that comes out. There have been many updates and a rethinking of prenatal fitness over the years.

It took a lot of digging to find the research I was looking for. I was pleasantly surprised that some very educated medical persons had the same thought that I had! The research and studies are out there. It has been looked at and the offspring have been followed to see the long term benefits.

Now I had my scientifically backed researched information. What next?

I googled how to do a poster presentation! LOL

I had to condense down my information into bullet points to get the main points across. Which seems not too difficult, except when you have spent so much time reading through research and think everything is awesome information. I began by separating the information into 2 areas. Physical exercise and mental health. This gave me focus and I managed to keep editing the info until I had my poster.

Then came printing the poster and going to the Help Me Grow forum in downtown Buffalo NY. Driving downtown and finding parking- Oh my. But I was so excited to share the information I had found. I was nervous about the attendees being as excited as I was.

It turns out that I had no reason to be nervous. I had so many attendees coming to me and asking questions, really good questions, that prompted amazing conversations. Many of them said they would like to implement, support or reach out to prenatal fitness instructors, yoga instructors in their own areas. Nothing could have made me happier. Bringing the information to so many people that can then bring it back to their own programs. Spreading the knowledge about the benefits to the offspring, supporting pregnant people , the families and the prenatal fitness communities.

I am grateful to Help Me Grow for selecting my poster project, believing that the information was important and allowing MommyStrong to be part of an amazing forum.

If you are interested or curious about Help Me Grow and what they do or would like to have your child's development evaluated - contact info:

Gerald Smith Family Resource Coordinator (716)462-4108

Connie Desmarais Outreach Coordinator (716)313-2740

Joanie Boersma Executive Assistant (716) 970-4544

Getting psyched up the poster presentaions

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