Local agency working to prevent infant deaths

By Mary Anne Johnson - Health department

At the Sampson County Health Department, we provide early and ongoing prenatal care to expectant mothers of Sampson County. Our goal has been and continues to be, to strive to reduce infant mortality, as well as, prevent birth defects.

What is infant mortality? It is the death of an infant before their first birthday. There are many causes, but, some of the leading causes are: premature births, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Infant Respiratory Distress Syndrome (IRDS), age of mother, marital status, maternal race, and maternal education.

According to research, it seems that for about two decades, North Carolina’s infant mortality rate had declined, but, now seems to have plateaued and also racial and ethnic disparities are increasing. There are many factors that may contribute to this change. It is known that a woman’s health and her access to health care before and during pregnancy is connected to birth outcomes. It has also been reported that one in every five women of reproductive age in our state of North Carolina is uninsured, as well as, about half of them are without health care options.

The prenatal care and health care services that an expectant mother receives before a baby’s birth is so important. This means having early and regular prenatal visits to monitor and assess mother and baby can help to prevent, discover, and treat any potential diseases or problem that may endanger them. It has been noted that infant deaths increase dramatically with the delay of the beginning of prenatal care. Also, receiving prenatal care can provide education on balanced nutrition needed for both mother and baby, support for stable mental health, and many other enriching opportunities that come with the expectant mother and her provider partnering together for a healthy outcome.

Just think, every child deserves the opportunity for a good start in life and chance to become a healthy and contributing adult in our society. North Carolina has been motivated by the challenges of infant mortality and growing race and ethnic disparities.

To continue to strive to prevent infant mortality, we, at Sampson County Health Department are partnering with community advisory groups and we have chosen two evidenced based practices that include LARCS (long acting birth control) and 17P (Progesterone medicine that can help prevent preterm birth in some pregnant women who have had a previous preterm birth) education and outreach.

For more information or to schedule an appointment to begin prenatal care, please call the Sampson County Health Department at 910-592-1131, extension 4001, 4960, or 4220. We accept private insurances, Medicaid, and services may also be provided based on a sliding scale fee.

By Mary Anne Johnson

Health department

Mary Anne Johnson, RN ERN works with the Sampson County Health Department.

Mary Anne Johnson, RN ERN works with the Sampson County Health Department.

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