September is infant mortality awareness month. The death of a baby before his or her first birthday is called infant mortality. The infant mortality rate is an estimate of the number of infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. This rate is often used as an indicator to measure the health and well-being of a nation, because factors affecting the health of entire populations can also impact the mortality rate of infants.
The top five leading causes of infant mortality together account for about 57% of all infant deaths. These top five causes are – preterm birth, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome, injuries, and maternal complications of pregnancy.
Smoking during pregnancy can contribute to some of these causes. It accounts for 20-30 percent of low-birth weight babies, up to 14 percent of preterm deliveries, and about 10 percent of all infant deaths according to the American Lung Association.
Pregnancy is a great time for women to quit smoking. The benefits to the mother and baby are great, but the process of quitting is often hard. To enroll in the local BABY & ME – Tobacco Free program, and receive free diapers up to a year for quitting and staying quit, just call Ste. Genevieve County Health Department @ 883-7411 or Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital @ 883-2751.