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Oklahoma’s Infant Mortality Rate continues to decline

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Officials are encouraged by the improvement in Oklahoma’s infant mortality rate (IMR). The IMR is the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births. It continues to decline, dropping from 8.6 in 2007 to 6.8 in 2013, saving an additional 34 babies’ lives over last year, according to the vital statistics data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Logan County Health DepartmentEven with the improvement in IMR, premature birth continues to be a leading cause of infant mortality and morbidity (sickness) in Oklahoma. Premature birth is defined as a birth occurring before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy. Factors that may contribute to premature birth are a short time period between pregnancies, smoking, obesity, and high stress. Premature birth may result in the baby having problems with breathing, infections, and often leading to admission to the neonatal intensive care unit.  

In an effort to increase awareness and offer steps each of us can take to help reduce infant mortality, community leaders are urged to recognize September as Infant Mortality Awareness Month.

Policymakers, health care providers, community leaders, parents, grandparents, neighbors, clergy, and others can be involved in ways to help all babies born in Oklahoma get the best possible start in life.  Steps that can be taken include:

·         Encouraging and supporting a woman’s healthy choices

·         Planning for pregnancy and being healthy before and between pregnancies, including being at a healthy weight

·         Taking 400 mcg of folic acid daily to help reduce chances of having a baby with birth defects

·         Quitting smoking and providing a smoke-free environment for baby

·         Getting tested and treated, if needed, for sexually transmitted diseases

·         Having a full-term pregnancy (about 40 weeks)

·         Knowing the signs and getting help for postpartum depression

·         Placing baby on his or her back to sleep

·         Making sure the baby sleeps in his or her own crib or bassinet, instead of your bed

·         Breastfeeding baby and supporting a woman’s choice to breastfeed

·         Keeping your cool when baby will not stop crying and never shaking a baby

·         Watching baby at all times and never leaving a baby unattended

To learn more about what steps you can take to help ensure the health and safety of Oklahoma’s babies, and to download relevant information, visit the Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility web pages at http://iio.health.ok.gov  under Free Materials and Resources. You can also contact Tyler Harl at the Logan County Health Department at 405-282-3485 or tylerc@health.ok.gov .

Categories: Health, News
  1. Jeannine Long
    September 22, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Your link on this posting does not work – at least not on MY computer.

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