September is National Infant Mortality Awareness Month. Preterm birth— before 37 weeks gestation– is the leading cause of infant death in the first month of life. Babies born prematurely are at higher risk of mortality and morbidity, as well as developmental delay.
In 2017, Florida ranked 29th among states with an infant mortality rate of 6.1 deaths for every 1,000 live births. The infant death rates in the state have decreased 14% in the last decade but significant disparities persist for black babies compared to white babies.
Home visiting programs funded by FL MIECHV address infant mortality and preterm birth by focusing on key risk factors associated with prematurity and other poor birth outcomes. These risk factors include perinatal depression, intimate partner violence (IPV) and tobacco use during pregnancy. Performance on these measures by sites implementing one of three FL MIECHV-funded evidence-based home visiting models (NFP, HFF or PAT) is tracked annually and reported to HRSA.
Local Healthy Start Coalitions will join with community partners during September to raise awareness and promote strategies for ensuring every baby gets the best possible start in life.