Mahoning County infant mortality rate still higher than state, national average


Despite efforts of health officials, community organizations and others… the infant mortality rate in Mahoning County is still higher than the state and national average… and one group is at greater risk than others. 27 First news reporter Amanda Smith has that story. Renata Lewis suffered a life- threatening complication with her pregnancy. It’s called pre-eclampsia.. and it sent her blood pressure skyrocketing. She relied on her doctors. Renata Lewis, mother: “MAKE SURE I WAS SAFE, MAKE SURE I HAD MY APPOINTMENTS, MAKE SURE I MADE MY APPOINTMENTS, AND MAKE SURE EVERYTHING THAT WAS INCLUDED IN MY APPOINTMENTS WAS PROVIDED AND DONE.” To save her life.. and the life of her child.. her baby was delivered at 31 weeks … more than 2 months early. Renata Lewis, mother: “I COULD HAVE ACTUALLY WENT INTO A COMA. POSSIBLY NOT WAKING UP.” Lewis’s baby is doing well. But across Mahoning County, infants are still at a higher risk of dying before their first birthday… than in the rest of the state or even the country. And for black infants.. the risk is THREE TIMES HIGHER than for other ethnic groups. Health Commissioner Patricia Sweeney says people often want to blame the mothers for infant deaths. Patricia Sweeney, Mah.Co. Health Commissioner: “MAYBE SOME ARE SMOKING. MAYBE SOME ARE USING MARIJUANA. BUT IT’S NOT A DRUG ISSUE. IT’S AN ACTUAL HEALTH OF THE MOTHER COMING IN TO THE PREGNANCY..” Dr. Rodney Hill has an OBGYN practice in Youngstown. He says many of his patients don’t get a full health work up until they realize they’re pregnant. Dr. Rodney Hill: “THINGS LIKE TYPE TWO DIABETES MIGHT BE UNMASKED FOR THE FIRST TIME. OR CHRONIC HYPERTENSION COULD BE UNMASKED FOR THE FIRST TIME.” All of that can make for a high-risk pregnancy. Amanda Smith WKBN/WYTV: “DR. HILL SAYS PREGNANT WOMEN SHOULD KEEP ALL OF THEIR PRENATAL APPOINTMENTS. BUT ALSO VERY IMPORTANT IS THAT FIRST APPOINTMENT AFTER DELIVERY. HE SAYS IF WOMEN SKIP THAT APPOINTMENT, THEY COULD BE SETTING THEMSELVES UP FOR A DANGEROUS FUTURE PREGNANCY.” He says having babies too close together.. can lead to premature birth. Dr. Rodney Hill: “IF YOU DON’T COME BACK FOR THAT 6 WEEK POST PARTUM VISIT, THEN THERE IS A CHANCE THAT I MAY SEE YOU THREE MONTHS LATER WITH A NEW PREGNANCY.” In Youngstown Amanda Smith WKBN 27 A woman from the Chicago area is

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