infant mortality

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Pubic Media

Taja Welton is ready for her daughter to be born. She’s moved into a bigger house, one with room for a nursery. She has a closet full of pink, Minnie Mouse-themed baby clothes. Her baby bag is packed right down to the outfit she plans to bring her baby home in that reads, “The Princess Has Arrived.”

“I can’t wait to put it on her,” Welton smiles. The princess even has a name: Macen.


Six months ago, Melissa Nichols brought her baby girl, Arlo, home from the hospital. And she immediately had a secret.

"I just felt guilty and like I didn't want to tell anyone," says Nichols, who lives in San Francisco. "It feels like you're a bad mom. The mom guilt starts early, I guess."

Across town, first-time mom Candyce Hubbell has the same secret — and she hides it from her pediatrician. "I don't really want to be lectured," she says. "I know what her stance will be on it."

Miles Bryan / WBEZ

Over the past few months, medical professionals on Chicago’s South Side have been trying a new tactic to bring down the area’s infant mortality rate: find women of childbearing age and ask them about everything.

Really, everything.

Doctors, Researchers And Parents At Odds Over ‘Safe’ Sleep

Nov 14, 2017
Barbara Brosher / WTIU News

The Indiana Department of Child Services says asphyxiation was the leading cause of child neglect deaths in fiscal year 2015. And, according to DCS data, nearly a quarter of those incidents were the result of parents failing to provide safe sleeping environments.

When Maisha Watson heard about baby boxes, her first reaction was: "Why would I want to put my baby in a box?"

She was talking with Marcia Virgil — "Miss Marcia" to her clients — a family support worker with the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative.

American Indian and Alaska Native families are much more likely to have an infant die suddenly and unexpectedly, and that risk has remained higher than in other ethnic groups since public health efforts were launched to prevent sudden infant death syndrome in the 1990s. African-American babies also face a higher risk, a study finds.

...j e r e m y... / flickr

On a rainy Tuesday morning in May, social worker Meghan Bragers drove up to Ferguson, Mo. to visit a 23-year-old expectant mother named Marie Anderson.

Anderson, who was 33 weeks pregnant at the time, was having a particularly difficult pregnancy.

“She’s been in a car accident, her car has been totaled, she’s having back issues, she’s having increased depressive symptoms,” Bragers said en route to the visit. “Things have gotten pretty difficult.”

Difficult, or as Anderson herself called it, “a tornado.”


MSU medical school students observe a surgery in Cuba
Michigan State University

Health care is considered a human right in Cuba, and it's free. The country spends far less than the U.S. on health care, yet Cubans have the same life expectancy as Americans.
 
But after students from Michigan State University's medical school were embedded in Cuban clinics and hospitals, they discovered the situation there is complicated. 

One year ago, while reporting on infant mortality rates in Kennett, Missouri, I met a 27-year-old expectant mother named Marylouisa Cantu. She was pregnant with her seventh child.

Her sixth child, a daughter named Alyssa, was born two years earlier and had spent two weeks in a neonatal intensive care unit due to complications from premature birth.


Teen Moms Trust Their Gut, Even When It Puts Their Babies At Risk

Apr 21, 2016

Does mother always know best? As a mom, I try to create the healthiest environment possible for my kids. I like to think my decisions are based on fact, but emotion plays a role, too. What happens if my choices aren't supported by medical research, and could even put my children at risk?

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