infant michael


"When I became pregnant, I got involved with the African American Health Program's infant mortality focus area. AAHP gave me the chance to meet every week with a nurse, and we discussed everything I could do to make sure that Michael was born healthy. After Michael's birth, I still had weekly home meetings with my nurse. She answered all of my questions - about breast feeding, sleeping and all the things new mothers worry about. With AAHP, I feel like I am making the right choices - and I can see the results every day in Michael."

Infant mortality is defined as the death of an infant before the age of one year, per 1000 live births. A disproportionately high infant mortality rate exists in the African American population. African American women are more likely than Caucasian and Hispanic women to experience infant mortality in the first year of their child's life. They are also more likely to experience infant mortality as a result of low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and maternal complications during pregnancy. According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in Montgomery County in 2010, the rate of infant deaths per 1000 live births was 4.3. The mortality rate for Caucasian infants was 3.3 and the rate for Hispanic infants was 3.7, but for African Americans, it was 7 – roughly double the rate of other groups.

The causes of premature and low-birth-weight babies in the African American community are complex. Factors include:

  • Stress related to the demands of family, career, financial management, and community involvement
  • History of premature delivery/low birth weight
  • Cord and placental complications
  • Maternal medical complications such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and sexually transmitted diseases
  • Advanced maternal age

AAHP's Maternal and Child Health focus area developed the SMILE (Start More Infants Living Equally Healthy) program to reduce the number of premature and low-birth-weight babies born to African American women in Montgomery County. Click on the side links under "Maternal and Child Health Links" to learn more about the SMILE program's services and resources.


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