INFANT MORTALITY AWARENESS MONTH
ORLANDO – The Orange County Health Department (OCHD) recognizes September as Infant Mortality Awareness Month. During this month the OCHD is reinforcing educational messages to the community on the risk factors associated with infant mortality, and educating women of childbearing age on the benefits of pre-conception planning, good nutrition, and the benefits of taking folic acid for a healthy baby.
“Taking folic acid at least two months before conception and throughout the first trimester is essential for the health and well-being of the developing baby”, said Dr. Kevin M. Sherin, Director of the Orange County Health Department.
There are several factors that contribute to infant mortality including: late prenatal care, being overweight ,smoking, substance abuse, poor nutrition, domestic violence, pre-term labor, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Women of childbearing age need to take 400 micrograms of folic acid in their diet everyday which is essential in the development of a child and prevent neural tube defects. Approximately 50% of pregnancies are unplanned, it is essential that women of childbearing age start taking folic acid as a preplanning method for unexpected pregnancies.
Babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy have about a 30% higher odds of being born prematurely, are more likely to be born with low birth weight increasing their risk for illness or death, and are 1.4 to 3 times more likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Infant mortality rate are higher among black babies. Data shows that black babies are disproportionately affected twice as much as white or Hispanic babies.
We can improve infant mortality rates outcomes by encouraging women of childbearing age to seek medical attention once they realize they are pregnant, and seek guidance from their physician on making positive choices that lead to healthy pregnancy outcomes.