Sept. is 'Infant Mortality Awareness Month'

The following is a message from the Genesee County Health Department:

Setpember is Infant Mortality Awareness Month.

Between 2000 and 2008, 583 babies in Genesee County died before their first birthday. A disproportionately large number of these infants were African American. September is National Infant Mortality Awareness Month. The Genesee County Health Department is promoting this month to increase awareness of the high rate of infant deaths in our community and promote healthy behaviors that can prevent infant death.

In Genesee County more than half of the infant deaths are due to prematurity (born more than 3 weeks before due date). The second and third most common causes of infant deaths are congenital anomalies (birth defects) and sudden infant death, mostly from unsafe sleep situations. Despite several years of infant safe sleep education campaigns, deaths from unsafe sleep have increased since 2007.

Everyone can help Genesee County TMs babies be born healthy by sharing these important tips with the mothers-to-be in their lives:

Before getting pregnant|

  • See your doctor regularly and address any health issues like diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity
  • Protect yourself from Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD TMs) and other infections
  • Don TMt use drugs or alcohol if there TMs a chance you could become pregnant.
  • See your doctor as soon as you become pregnant and take a multi-vitamin with folic acid
During pregnancy|

  • Don TMt use drugs or alcohol - NO AMOUNT of alcohol is safe during pregnancy
  • Preventing STD TMs and other infections is important to your baby TMs health and will help reduce chances of premature birth
  • Eat a healthy diet and take prenatal vitamins
  • Don TMt smoke cigarettes or marijuana.
  • Know the signs of preterm labor (lower back pain, cramping, bleeding, contractions that occur more than 3 weeks before your due date)
  • Consider breastfeeding as the healthiest food for your baby
After pregnancy|

  • Space pregnancies at least 18 months apart to allow your body to heal and give you time to bond with your new baby
  • Take care of your own health " see your doctor and continue to address any chronic health conditions
  • Take your infant to his/her well baby check-ups
  • Always place your infant to sleep on his/her back, alone, in a crib or bassinette
  • Seek help with any breastfeeding questions or problems

To find out more, contact the Genesee County Health Department at (810) 341-5239 or visit