Baptist Hospital helps lead efforts against infant mortality, premature births

Baptist Hospital helps lead efforts against infant mortality, premature births

Posted: Wednesday, September 22, 2010 8:01 pm

NASHVILLE — September is designated as National Infant Mortality Month in order to educate men and women about the serious problem of infant death in the United States. Baptist Hospital is recognizing this time to review its commitment to decreasing the number of premature births and infant mortality in Middle Tennessee.
According to the 2009 Tennessee Women’s Health Report Card, the rate of babies who do not reach their first birthday is 6.9 (per 1,000 babies born) nationally as compared to 8.3 in Tennessee.
“Infant mortality is especially serious in Tennessee, where the number of deaths is higher than the national average,” said Bernie Sherry, president and CEO of Baptist Hospital in Nashville. “At Baptist Hospital, we remain committed and focused on improving these numbers.”
Baptist Hospital, which delivers more babies than any other hospital in Middle Tennessee, is participating in initiatives to improve outcomes for mothers and babies by participating in the Tennessee Initiative for Perinatal Quality Care (TIPQC). In addition, Baptist Hospital offers one of the most advanced Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the Middle Tennessee area.
The Level III Beaman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit provides technology, expertise and timely care, and access to an array of physicians in-house 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. In addition, comprehensive childbirth services help mothers who are “at-risk” deliver their babies safely and provide a team of nurses and physicians to care for the hospital’s tiniest patients in its neonatal intensive care unit.
“Because preterm labor is one of the main reasons for infant mortality, our ultimate goal is to lower the number of premature babies born,” said Dr. Marta Papp, neonatologist at Baptist Hospital. “The last couple weeks of pregnancy are extremely important for the baby’s growth.”
Dr. Papp urges women to be aware of certain lifestyle factors, which put women at risk for preterm labor, including:
• Late or no prenatal care
• Smoking
• Drinking alcohol
• Using illegal drugs
• Domestic violence (including physical, sexual or emotional abuse)
• Lack of social support
• Extremely high levels of stress
• Long working hours with long periods of standing
• Exposure to certain environmental pollutants
Baptist Hospital is also intimately involved in the March of Dimes, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to improving the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. Each year, the hospital sponsors the Nashville March for Babies to help raise funds and increase awareness.
herry, who served as chair of the 2010 Nashville March for Babies, added, “Through our partnership with the March of Dimes, we can help give all babies a fighting chance against the threats to their health.”
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Published in The Messenger 9.22.10


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