Indiana’s infant mortality rate is 7.7 deaths per 1,000 infants, according to a 2013 Indiana State Department of Health report (PDF). Indiana’s rate is higher than the national infant mortality rate of 7.0 deaths per 1,000 infants, giving Indiana the sixth highest infant mortality rate in the nation.
One way Purdue Extension is helping solve this problem is the Have a Healthy Baby program.
Have a Healthy Baby is a nutrition education program for pregnant teens and young adults. Through free, informal, and easily accessible educational programs in the home and community, participants:
- Learn how to balance diet and an active lifestyle during pregnancy
- Understand the consequences of smoking, drinking, and drugs
- How to focus on achieving a healthy amount of weight to help protect the health of the baby
- Learn about food safety during pregnancy
- Develop the best methods for feeding a baby
The lessons hit home with Shelby Ramsey of Anderson.
“This class has made a huge impact on my life,” Ramsey says. “Everything that I thought I was doing right for my baby, I was actually doing wrong. It’s not that someone’s trying to tell you how to raise your child, it’s taking advice from someone who’s been there, who teaches it and knows it.”
Shelby took classes from Lynn Schocke, Purdue Extension-Madison County Family Nutrition Program assistant. With a simple demonstration, pregnant moms often change their behavior. Often, these mothers don’t realize that what they eat or drink goes directly to their babies.
“A lot of people will change if they get the right information,” Schocke says.