Helping Moms Have Healty Babies

The infant death rate in Jackson County is high, and Chipola's Healthy Start Coalition wants to reduce it.

In 2005 alone, the Chipola Health Start program says over 15 percent of Jackson County's infants died. That's double the state's infant mortality rate of a little more than seven percent.

Janet Spink is the Program Director for Chipola and said, “It's a conglomerate of things. It's teen pregnancy, the obesity, the access to care, the smoking rates. Our smoking rates are almost four times the state’s rates in some of those counties so that is as you know a high impact on low birth weights."

“Prenatal screening from an ObGyn is key to preparing for pregnancy.”

Spink says it has decreased from 75 percent to 68 percent, and infant screening has decreased from 90 percent to 79 percent. The mom to be gets lot of attention, according to Spink.

"She's assessed for indicators that would tell you whether or not she's at risk for having either low birth weight or infant death. She's given a value and if she's scored four or more then she's referred to healthy start for services."

Spink says Healthy Start is trying to do its part in preventing these high infant birth mortalities.

"A lot of community education, a lot of referrals, if we can get them into us and we can find out what the problem is then we can help find some solutions."

Until then, Spink says she has some advice to avoid infant deaths.

"Every woman needs Folic Acid. Secondly, you need to prepare your body for pregnancy. It's not an accident."

Chipola Healthy Start Coalition not only covers Jackson County, but also Calhoun, Liberty, Holmes and Washington Counties.

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