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Infant Mortality

Decreasing Infant Deaths, Improving Babies’ Health

By working together with hospitals, nonprofit organizations and state and local agencies, CelebrateOne, Columbus’ collective impact initiative, plans to reduce the infant mortality rate  and cut the racial health disparity gap.

Babies born too soon or too small, unsafe sleep practices, smoking, birth defects and social and economic conditions are leading causes of infant mortality.

Challenges

  • Every week, nearly three babies die before their first birthday in Franklin County.
  • Through September 2021, 99 infants died before their first birthday, resulting in an infant mortality rate of 7.7 per 1,000 live births. 
  • African American infants are 3.4 times more likely to die than white infants.
  • Each year, more than 2,000 babies in Franklin County are born too early.

Initiatives

  • Franklin County hospitals are committed to showing parents an educational video before discharge, highlighting the elements of a safe home sleep environment, the importance of not smoking in the house, and tips for soothing a crying baby.
  • Low birth weight infants: Ensuring that mothers at risk of delivering very low birth weight infants (less than 1500 grams) deliver at a facility with higher volumes of VLBW deliveries.
  • Tobacco cessation: Identifying and referring women who smoke tobacco and are pregnant or have delivered a baby to cessation counseling programs.
  • Legal needs: Assessing if pregnant women have legal issues, such as evictions, that can affect health outcomes and referring them to Columbus Legal Aid Society.
  • Opiate prescriptions: Reducing the amount of opiates prescribed to women undergoing a cesarean section. 

Progress

  • Franklin County hospitals referred nearly 402 pregnant women to the Columbus Legal Aid Society in 2021. The goal of the Medical Legal Partnership program is to assist pregnant women in resolving legal issues to encourage a healthy birth outcome.
  • Franklin County hospitals referred 290 pregnant women to Columbus Public Health for tobacco cessation counseling in 2020.
  • Nearly 90% of parents report that they viewed an educational video before being discharged from a maternity unit. The video provides education on safe sleep, breastfeeding and in-home tobacco use.