Opinion

Statistics Show a Decline in Infant Deaths

How to Prevent Infant Mortality

By:  Roseanne Cassar

Credit: commercialappeal.com

As women, many of us want to have children one day.  

There is a built-in mechanism in ourselves called “maternal instinct.” But before giving the idea of having children a thought, we first need to educate ourselves about the precautions that are needed to protect and keep our babies alive longer than what statistics may say.

To understand what Infant Mortality Rates or (IMR) truly is, one must know of its two categories. Neonatal mortality, which occurs the first 28 days after birth and post-Neonatal mortality (29 – 364 days), in medicine, which affects infants usually from the end of the first month to a year after birth.  

It is said that “most infant deaths take place in the neonatal period,” even though the United States is a well-developed nation. There are approximately 25 other industrialized nations that do an even better job at keeping babies alive in the first year of life.  

According to the NY Metro Parents Newsletter, for expectant parents, the statistics are surprising, as it is relatively good news for New Yorkers. The IMR in New York City and the surrounding areas are at a remarkable low.  

New York City’s local infant mortality rates between the five boroughs are as follows:  The Bronx at 5.1, Queens, 4.2; Staten Island, 3.8; Manhattan, 3.7 and Brooklyn last, at 3.6.

According to the statistics, there are three leading causes of infant deaths:  prematurity, birth defects or congenital diseases, like Aaron’s Zellweger Syndrome and cardiovascular disease.  

Other examples of infant death causes are a baby born to a mother with a causal medical condition and a baby who dies from a sudden death syndrome or an accidental suffocation while sleeping.  

Not included in these stats are how babies can die from inflicted deaths, caused either by one of the parents such as the father, the mother or the stepfather, boyfriend of the mother out of jealous rage, ongoing abuse or neglect.  

Mental health is a very big issue, especially when postpartum for a new mother takes over her state of mind.  

There are ways to minimize the danger of infant deaths.  

Pregnant women can start with getting prenatal care. Pregnant moms who don’t take prenatal care will have babies that are at a higher risk of infant mortality.  

Your baby’s doctor will prescribe you prenatal vitamins, recommend exercises, offer instruction on healthy pregnancy diets, and will monitor you and the baby to help ensure a fruitful pregnancy, delivery and infancy.

In today’s new medical age, there are advanced ways of testing during the prenatal period. These new tests can show how a fetus is growing and also shows if there are any signs of genetic defects in utero.

To grieve a child’s death is definitely the toughest thing a mother can go through, especially a new mother.  

Specialists mentioned that grief commonly shows four stages: accepting the death, working through the feelings of pain and grief, adjusting to life without their beloved child and continuing a bond with their baby. This often happens by memorializing their lost loved one, whether it be through a ritual or by joining or starting a group.

It is a good idea for grieving parents to join some kind of support group that can help with alleviating the pain of loss of something so precious.

To take grievance pictures prior to the funeral would not be necessary. Grievance pictures won’t soften the feeling of loss. If anything, it would make the feeling of loss become worse.  

The best course of action would be talking about the loss of your child with other people or keep something that was once in your child’s possession, such as a stuffed animal, a baby blanket etc. Sit in the big rocking chair that was meant to be used to bond with your baby while bottle feeding.  

To hold on to a keepsake that was for your baby will help slowly heal the loss that you feel. Time is the essence for healing, and as the saying goes, “time heals all wounds.”

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