Ind. ranks one of the worst in giving infants fighting chance at life

FORT WAYNE,  Ind. (WANE) – Did you know, every 13 hours a baby in Indiana dies.  State and local health officials say much of the blame falls on parents with bad habits they don’t break before pregnancy.

New data released by the state department of health reveals Indiana is the fifth worst state when it comes to giving infants a fighting chance at life.  In order to change that statistic, doctors NewsChannel 15 spoke with say moms and dads need to make big changes before they even think about getting pregnant.

“Quitting smoking and Parkview has a program to help with that,” Parkview Senior VP Women and Children Services Patti Brahe said.

“We have a high percentage of mothers who smoke during pregnancy,” Allen County Health Commissioner Deb McMahan said.

For some time, doctors say Indiana has been the sixth most smoking state.  A habit difficult to kick.  But, State Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess says if parents put the butt out for good, their baby would have a better chance of living.

“Smoking is a major cause of prematurity and low birth weight,” Indiana State Health Department Commissioner Dr. William VanNess said.

Other dangerous factors which led to 258 infant deaths in 2012:  mothers who are obese and those who didn’t see a doctor during the first trimester.

“Only about 60 percent of women go in for prenatal care in the first trimester. The state has worked hard to really make Medicare accessable to women who don’t have health insurance. There is presumptive eligibility. You get full medicaid the minute you are pregnant. You don’t even have to prove that you are pregnant,” Dr. McMahan said.

Patti Brahe, Parkview’s Senior VP of Women and Children Services, says after birth education is vital.  Especially for first time parents.

“We talk about the stress of being a new parent. To avoid the stress that may lead to shaken baby syndrome. We talk to parents about safe sleep. We talk with them about the safe use of car seats,” Brahe said.

Resources for expecting parents and grandparents:

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