Don’t Let Your Baby Become A Statistic

man resting his head on his wife's pregnant stomach( — September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month, swiftly followed by November, which is Prematurity Awareness Month. This is of keen interest because did you know that at least twice as many black babies are born too soon, too small or too sick to survive their first year of life as compared to white babies? Maybe you have heard it in passing or at a health fair, seen it on a billboard or read it in an article such as this—or maybe not.

Maybe you feel like this information will never impact you or yours, but it can. If you really think about it, you might realize that yes, you have indeed been touched by this scourge in our community, that you really do know someone who has lost their child to prematurely, to low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), illness or abuse.

In 2007, in Florida alone, 1,689  babies who were born alive died before the age of 1—689 of which were African American … or nearly 41 percent!

What can be done? There are a myriad of causes that may lead to prematurity and low birth weight, two of the largest contributors to the high death rate for babies. The research continues and recent findings suggest that the health of the mother before conception or between pregnancies is key to the health of the growing baby inside her.

It is imperative that women see their healthcare provider before becoming pregnant. Women looking to become mothers should take folic acid daily, drink plenty of water, eat healthy foods, exercise and visit the dentist. If you are uninsured, start thinking now about how you will manage the medical costs of a pregnancy; educate yourself on what is available in your area and how you will gain access to those services.