What are Infant Mortality and Maternal Health?
Many of us have heard the term “infant mortality”, however, do we know what that means? Infant mortality refers to the death of an infant that occurs between the time it is born and 1 year of age. The term “infant mortality” refers only to deaths that occur after birth. If a baby dies before age 28 days, the death can also be classified as neonatal mortality.
The infant mortality rate, the number of infant deaths out of every 1,000 live births, is an important factor in understanding a population’s overall health because many factors that contribute to infant death also affect the health of a population in general.
Maternal health is the health of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. Maternal health encompasses family planning, preconception, prenatal, and postnatal care to ensure a positive and fulfilling experience.
What Causes Infant Mortality?
Causes of infant mortality can stem from infection to birth defects or accidents. Some of the most common causes are lack of access to medicine, trained healthcare providers, clean water, and food. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the five leading causes of infant death in 2020 were:
- Birth defects
- Preterm birth and low birth weight
- Sudden infant death syndrome
- Maternal pregnancy complications
Geographically, infant mortality rates in 2020 were highest among states in the south and continue to rise. Nationwide, Non-Hispanic Black, Non-Hispanic Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islanders, and Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Natives are most affected.
How Can We Reduce The Risk of Infant Mortality and Improve Maternal Health?
Khairi and Little Angels’ (KLA) Memorial is dedicated to bringing awareness to infant mortality and is devoted to providing education to improve birth outcomes for mothers across ethnic origins. We’ve partnered with the State of Alabama through the City of Birmingham to provide prevention methods to reduce maternal and infant mortality before conception through postpartum. These prevention measures include:
- Provide access to screening for health risks and pre-existing chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and sexually transmitted diseases.
- Educate women about the benefits of good nutrition, exercise, and the consumption of adequate amounts of folic acid supplements, to prevent neural tube defects and iron.
- Offer physical and emotional support to women and their partners during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period through doula services.
KLA Memorial’s prevention measures continue during pregnancy and include:
- Provide women with early access to high-quality care throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery.
- Weekly check-ins and accompaniment to doctor visits as a representing doula.
- Continue counseling about nutrition and physical exercise.
- Educate women about the early signs of pregnancy-related problems.
- Continue counseling against the use of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs.
We are committed to combating the infant and maternal mortality rates in the highly affected areas of our State and nationwide. KLA Memorial’s prevention measures during the postpartum period include:
- Provide information about well-baby care, the benefits of breastfeeding, and the dangers of exposing infants to secondhand smoke.
- Counsel parents about the placement of infants during sleep time.
- Educate parents about how to protect their infants from exposure to infectious diseases and harmful substances.
- Provide doula services, and physical and emotional support, to women and their partners during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.
How Can I Help the Cause?
KLA Memorial realizes that partnerships and collaborations are critical to our mission of providing advocacy and education toward reducing infant mortality rates nationwide. If you would like to join our mission, let’s talk.
You can also serve our mission in the following ways:
To learn more about our story, you may support our cause by purchasing Tomeka’s book, We Heard Your Cry, Vol 1. here www.weheardyourcrybook.com
Join the movement and let’s do more together!