Oklahoma continues to take positive steps to reduce infant deaths. Through the work of many dedicated partners and individuals, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announced the state’s infant mortality rate (IMR) has decreased by 17% since 2007, equating to 183 more babies able to spend their first birthday with their families.
“As we experience progress in eight of nine primary measures, including breastfeeding rates, infant safe sleep practices and prenatal care, we are encouraged by the reduction in infant mortality,” said Joyce Marshall, director of the OSDH Maternal and Child Health Service. “We acknowledge that there is still work to be done to achieve the national IMR of 5.9.”
This accomplishment is the result of a number of programs including The Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility statewide initiative, which includes numerous strategies designed to improve birth outcomes for Oklahoma’s mothers and babies. Key messages of the initiative are:
Being healthy before and between pregnancies greatly improves the chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Having a full-term pregnancy and breastfeeding offers a baby the best start in life.
Recognizing the signs and getting help for maternal mood disorders can improve health for both mother and baby.
Placing baby on his/her back to sleep alone in a crib and avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke decreases the risk of SIDS.
Knowing how to prevent leading causes of injury, such as correctly installing infant car seats, helps keep baby safe and secure.
Learning what to do if the baby will not stop crying may help prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Improvements in priorities, including a dramatic decrease in the rate of teen births and a significant reduction in smoking rates among pregnant women also has contributed to fewer infant deaths.
During September, which is Infant Mortality Awareness Month, the Preparing for a Lifetime initiative will celebrate its 10th anniversary by moving forward together and remaining committed to the health and wellness of Oklahoma’s moms, babies and families. To learn more, visit http://iio.health.ok.gov.