The need to immediately address infant mortality

Parkview Women’s and Children’s Hospital is extremely focused on making a positive impact on the staggering infant mortality rates in our area. We are going beyond just developing internal programs to address this concern. We are partnering with other organizations and community resources to actively raise awareness on the concerning statistics in our region.

Infant mortality is defined as the death of a baby before his or her first birthday. The infant mortality rate (IMR) is the number of infant deaths for every 1,000 births, and within Indiana, the 2014 IMR was 7.1. In northeast Indiana, the IMR is 7.9. However, Allen County’s IMR was 9.2 in 2014, much higher than the state and region’s averages. A large disparity among races also exists within Allen County. Data from 2014 revealed a Black/African American baby is 2.5 times more likely to die than a White baby. These alarming numbers are calling our communities to action.

We believe, when a community comes together toward a common goal, the impact will be much greater than when done alone. Our initial focus will include engaging with youth to promote healthy life choices, expanding access to prenatal care, prenatal education and much more.

Erin Norton, RN, BSN, IBCLC, clinical research nurse and program coordinator, Parkview Women’s and Children’s Hospital, is just one team member at the forefront of this fight. “If I could focus on one thing to prevent infant mortality, it would be early prenatal care,” Erin said. “I encourage women to get prenatal care as soon as they find out they’re pregnant.” This means the mom-to-be is connecting with their physician and receiving the exact care they need. “Getting started early helps ensure a woman gets the information and resources she needs right from the start..” Erin suggested expectant moms and dads consider taking a Prenatal Class as well as one of the Safe Sleep classes offered through our Community Nursing program.

Quick Facts about Infant Mortality: A call to care.

• Infant mortality is defined as the death of a baby before his or her first birthday.

• The infant mortality rate (IMR) is an estimate of the number of infant deaths for every 1,000 births.

• Infant mortality is the No. 1 indicator of health status in the world.

• Indiana has been consistently worse than the Healthy People 2020 goal every year.

• Remember the ABCs: Always put babies to sleep Alone, on their Backs, and in a Crib.

• Any family who can’t afford a safe place for their baby to sleep can get a Graco Pack ‘n Play at a Cribs for Kids site. Many sites are available in Allen County.

• It’s best to get prenatal care early and often!  This leads to the best outcomes for moms and babies. 

• The MCH Moms Helpline can help women connect to early prenatal care and help them find other helpful community resources, 1-844-MCH-MOMS.

• Pregnant? Don’t smoke. In Indiana, 15.7% of mothers smoke during pregnancy (twice the U.S. average). Not pregnant? Still don’t smoke!

• Cow milk is for baby cows.  Human milk is for baby humans.  Breastfeeding helps babies get off to a healthy start.  Lots of places, like WIC and local support groups, have good information on this.

• A baby dies about every 13 hours in Indiana.

• If a woman is obese, she is much more likely to have a premature baby. Indiana is the 9th most obese state in the U.S.

• Healthy mothers have healthy babies.  Women should talk to their doctors before becoming pregnant.

• In 2014, over 23,000 babies died in the United States. (CDC)

• Allen County’s infant mortality rate is higher than the state’s average.  In 2014, Indiana’s rate was 7.1 compared to Allen County’s rate of 9.2.

Interested in learning more? 
You’re invited to ‘Ignite! Empowering Young People to Own their Future’ on August 25.

Join the Parkview Women’s and Children’s Hospital as we partner with area youth agencies to instill empowerment and confidence in our region’s young people to make healthy decisions – body, mind and spirit – to positively impact their goals and future.  We’ll also welcome Dr. Jerome Adams, Indiana State Health Commissioner, as he shares the staggering facts of infant mortality and what we can do to change the numbers.

Thursday, August 25, 2016
3 – 4:30 p.m.
City Life Center
3701 S. Calhoun St., Ste. B
RSVP to (888) 780-3505 by August 22.

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