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Healthy Baby, Healthy Start

Just over 4 million babies are born in the United States every year. Their mothers and fathers make up a wide range of socioeconomic and age-related demographics. In 1970 the average age of a first-time mother was about 21. In 2008 the average age was 25.1.

Efforts to improve birth outcomes in the United States are ongoing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control: about 25,000 infants die each year in the United States. Pregnancy and childbirth have a huge impact on the physical, mental, emotional, and socioeconomic health of women and their families. Pregnancy-related health outcomes are influenced by a woman's health and other factors like race, ethnicity, age, and income.

WQED is pleased to collaborate with Highmark in addressing the important topics of better maternal and infant health during pregnancy and baby's first year life. This four part series: Healthy Baby, Healthy Start will explore issues related to maternal nutrition, infant mortality, safe sleep for babies and high risk pregnancies.

WQED-TV Special Reports

Infant Mortality - WATCH NOW
In Pittsburgh, where the unemployment rate is well below the national average, the infant mortality rate for black residents of Allegheny County was 20.7 in 2009, a slight decrease from 21 in 2000, but still worse than rates in China or Mexico. Because racial and ethnic minority groups are expected to comprise an increasingly larger proportion of the U.S. population in coming years, the number of people affected by disparities in health care will only increase without culturally appropriate, community-driven programs to eliminate these disparities. To be successful, these programs need to be based on sound prevention research and supported by new and innovative partnerships among governments, businesses, faith-based organizations, and communities. This story will explore organizations working within minority communities to encourage better prenatal and newborn care.

Discussion to follow: Host Chris Moore talks with local experts about infant mortality problems -- and most importantly -- prevention. Guests include: West Penn Hospital neonatologist Dr. Bindu Raveendran, Clinical Director of the Midwife Center for Birth & Women's Health Ann McCarthy, and Healthy Start board member Peggy O'Malley.

Resources, Links & More Information:
The Midwife Center for Birth & Women's Health
Healthy Start Pittsburgh
West Penn Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Allegheny County Health Department Maternal and Child Health Program

The Birth Circle (Doula program)

Center for Health Equity
University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health
Behavioral and Community Health Sciences


Maternal and Child Health Program
Allegheny County Health Department


What Should Mother-to-be Eat? - WATCH NOW
Good prenatal nutrition is essential for the growth and health of the developing fetus. So what’s on the checklist of good food, and what should moms-to-be avoid? Research also indicates that poor maternal nutrition could even lead to childhood obesity. We’ll talk to experts who have great advice and hear from the mothers who are taking that advice.

Safe Sleep - WATCH NOW
This report explores the tragedy of infants who die unexpectedly while sleeping. Parents can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS, by following a few simple safe sleep guidelines offered by experts in the field. Also profiled: "Cribs for Kids." This national Infant Safe Sleep Initiative headquartered in Pittsburgh is a voluntary health agency whose mission is to provide education and support to families, friends and communities affected by SIDS.

Resources, Links & More Information:
Cribs for Kids
When can I give my child a pillow?
Healthy Start Pittsburgh
SIDS Safe Sleep Tips for Infants

High Risk Pregnancy - WATCH NOW
When a high profile woman has a high risk pregnancy the whole world pays attention. In Great Britain, Kate Middleton made headlines while suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, or severe morning sickness - which is among the factors that can lead to high risk pregnancy. But royal family aside, millions of other women experience high risk pregnancies. This report will highlight some of the other factors, including advanced maternal age, lifestyle choices such as smoking and drinking, diabetes, high blood pressure and epilepsy. We’ll talk with pregnant women who’ve been affected and report on what women should know about care and prevention.

Resources, Links & More Information:
March of Dimes
March of Dimes CineMama
West Penn Allegheny Health System - High-Risk Obstetrics and Maternal-Fetal Medicine
Centers For Disease Control - Reproductive Health


Check out our new blog from producer Alicia Schisler!

Half Hour Special on Postpartum Depression: Beyond Baby Blues

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WQED is proud to partner with Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield to cover important health topics. "Living With Mental Illness" explores diagnosis, treatment and ending the stigma associated with behavioral health issues. The "Men & Cancer" and "Women & Cancer" series reports on early detection and the latest treatment of cancers most commonly associated with men and women.


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