Tennessee’s Infant Deaths Can Be Prevented

From API’s Publications Team

Pregnant
Pregnant

Attachment Parenting International Co-founder Barbara Nicholson was quoted in a Public News Service (PNS) article about Tennessee’s high infant mortality rate.

According to PNS, 9 of every 1,000 babies born in Tennessee die during their first year of life, with the rate for African Americans rivaling the infant mortality in some third-world countries. Memphis, Tenn., has the highest numbers in the state, with a child dying every 43 hours. Health officials say the leading cause of Tennessee’s infant mortality rate is premature birth.

Nicholson said that many premature infant deaths can be prevented through the use of low-cost services such as Centering Pregnancy, which teaches pregnant women to self-monitor their blood pressure and weight.

“This is group care of pregnant moms in the care of a midwife and this
results in a 41 percent reduction in infant mortality in the
African-American community,” Nicholson said.

There are five Centering Pregnancy programs in Tennessee – four in Memphis and one in Madisonville – with more sites planned for Nashville and Chattanooga. Centering Pregnancy is funded through the State of Tennessee; Gov. Phil Bredsen has pledged $6 million toward programs such as Centering Pregnancy.

“If we put money into prevention, it’s going to save us millions,” Nicholson said. “When we have better outcomes, prevention is always the cheapest and safest alternative.”

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