Infant Mortality Report

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One hundred babies die each year in north Florida. The Healthy Start Coalition says it's a result of the lack of education and funding, and what it found in a new report may surprise you.

Many high risk babies and mothers come through Tallahassee Memorial's Level 3 Neonatal Unit every year, and the Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition says some didn't have to end up here.

Robin Schroeder of Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, an administrator for Women's and Children's Services, says, "We know it's related to a lack of pre-conceptual planning and a lack of pre-natal care that some of them get prior to coming in."

The coalition released the results of a 10-year study on infant mortality on Thursday and found that the six-county region not only has among the highest rates of infant mortality in the state, but the rates are on the rise.

Ann Davis, Executive Director of the Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition, says, "We could make a big difference in the outcomes of our babies, and a lot of things we can do are preventive efforts."

The coalition is turning up the focus on five urgent areas needing attention: premature delivery, racial disparity, maternal infections, poor pre-pregnancy health an unsafe infant sleeping.

Davis says the first steps are as easy as taking prenatal vitamins and regular dental cleanings.

"If we don't have healthy babies, we'll never know the potential this community has lost."

The report also shows that the rate of infant mortality is twice as prevalent among African-American women than white women, regardless of their demographics.

Tallahassee Memorial is participating in a study to find out why.