The March of Dimes Ready For Life Program is an initiative that champions preconception health interventions for healthier moms and stronger babies. This program has a narrowed focus on the highest risk populations and geographic locations in North Carolina.

Our program vision is that all persons giving birth in North Carolina will enter pregnancy when they choose, how they choose, and in their best possible health regardless of wealth, race, or geography.

We do this by engaging healthcare providers, community leaders, and other stakeholders in active learning and planning to increase education, awareness, and action around the importance of health and wellness prior to pregnancy as a key strategy in improving maternal and infant health. We are also empowering communities to take action through advocacy and peer education.

This program was founded as the North Carolina Folic Acid Campaign (1996-2007), a nationally recognized, award-winning campaign created to improve infant and maternal health by promoting the benefits and consumption of folic acid. Through this campaign, North Carolina was able to significantly reduce the occurrence of neural tube defects in newborn children by encouraging women of childbearing age to take a multivitamin containing 400 mcg of folic acid every day.

We recognized the need to expand on the folic acid message, and lead the way with new messages and new initiatives under the larger umbrella of preconception health.

We transitioned to the March of Dimes North Carolina Preconception Health Campaign (NCPHC) in 2007, and focused on reducing infant mortality, birth defects, premature birth, and chronic health conditions in women, while also aiming to increase intended pregnancies in North Carolina.

Ready For Life: NC is funded by the Women’s Health Branch of the Division of Public Health within the NC Department of Health and Human Services.