Healthier Moms and Babies releases Infant Mortality Report

“For every 1,000 babies born in Allen County, 6 infants die before their first birthdays,” reports Paige Wilkins, executive director of Healthier Moms and Babies. “Even one is too many—and the statistics are worse for Black residents of Allen County, with 15 infant deaths before their first birthdays for every 1,000 births. We have an obligation to provide programs, education and resources that help our littlest community members and their families lead healthy, happy lives.” 

On February 27, Healthier Moms and Babies released the 2023 Allen County Infant Mortality Report, “The Future of Firsts.” Their study was conducted by Purdue University Fort Wayne’s Community Research Institute to understand how our community can do better. The study reveals that many factors contributing to our community’s high infant mortality rate are preventable through healthcare, education, and programming. Some of their key takeaways include:

  • Struggles with Mental Health (36% of survey respondents said their recent pregnancy was moderately hard, very hard or one of the worst times of their life.)
  • Neglecting Regular Healthcare (Many survey respondents reported not getting routine checkups that could identify conditions making pregnancy riskier, like gestational diabetes.)
  • Misunderstanding Best Practices (Survey revealed a lack of timely communication with healthcare providers about safe prescriptions during pregnancy, safe sleep, kick counts, and more.)
  • Encountering Economic Struggles (61% of women responding reported incomes of less than $50,000 annually.)  

St. Joseph Community Health Foundation’s Executive Director, Meg Distler, a co-founder of Healthier Moms and Babies in 1996, was honored to be a part of this report’s release.

Click here for a copy of the Executive Summary of this report.

As a result of this study, Healthier Moms and Babies is committed to: 

  • Re-establishing an infant mortality community action network.
  • Promoting safe medication use, especially during pregnancy.
  • Destigmatizing maternal mental health.
  • Doubling-down on safe sleep education through a two-pronged approach.
  • Improving use of kick counts.
  • Increasing screenings for domestic violence.

The community action network, convening in April, will be comprised of individuals and organizations who support moms, babies and families to work collaboratively on the recommendations of this report. St. Joe Foundation will be at the table and encourages others who are interested to contact Healthier Moms and Babies.