Mixed results on Alabama's infant mortality and premature birth rates

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email


The cry of a child is a happy sound to Jessica and Jay Adair because two years ago this week the Adairs didn't know if their triplets would make it. They were born 10 weeks early.

"It was really scary," said Mrs. Adair.

Statistics from the March of Dimes show more than 15% of the babies born in Alabama are being born too soon. On the flip side records indicate the infant mortality rate is the lowest in history in Alabama.

Early birth is the leading cause of death of newborn deaths because the babies aren't fully developed. The Adairs realize just how fortunate they are because some infants that do survive often face long term disabilities.

"Two of them had brain bleeds and the third one had a cyst on the brain," said Jay Adair.

At Baptist East in Montgomery more than 500 babies are born every year prematurely.

The Isolette is one reason why more and more newborns are surviving. The Isolette looks like plastic clear box that acts like a 'womb.' In one of the Isolettes at Baptist East, we found a baby girl who was born 5 days ago and more than 10 weeks early.

The Isolette costs $40,000 and Leslie Rogers says this piece of technology is the direct result of money poured into research over the years from organizations like the March of Dimes.

"This is an incubator and it keeps the baby warm," said Rogers.

Medical experts say it's not clear why some babies are born prematurely.  Doctors strongly suggest child-bearing age women get pre-natal care right away to reduce the risk of a premature birth.

We do know the little girl in the Isolette is doing just fine and is progressing well, according to nurses in the neonatal care unit at Baptist.

For the Adair family Miller, Mason and Myles are healthy, too, showing no complications from their early arrivals.

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