This month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. It serves as a time to create awareness and encourages support for parents who have experienced a loss during pregnancy or infancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “24,000 babies are stillborn in the U.S., and in 2020 the infant mortality rate was 5.4 deaths per 1,000 live births.” The most common causes of infant loss include pregnancy complications, preterm birth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
While infant loss can impact any birthing person, data reveals that there are disparities. In 2019, The Illinois Department of Public Health reported, “infant mortality rate among non-Hispanic Black infants was nearly three times higher than the infant mortality rate among non-Hispanic white infants.” EverThrive IL understands that systemic racism is at the root of health disparities. We are committed to developing and supporting programs and initiatives that address these maternal and infant health disparities. Therefore, we continue to create and work on programs and initiatives to address these maternal and infant health disparities.
Currently, EverThrive IL leads two Community Alignment Boards (CABs) for Family Connects on the southside of Chicago. Family Connects is a universal home visiting program that connects registered nurses with individuals who have recently given birth and their infants to provide support. “The CABs are important for these communities because they allow community-based organizations and community members to come together to understand the community’s needs, coordinate resources and referrals, build partnerships, and advocate for their needs,” said Kirbi Range, Associate Director of Birth Equity.
We have also created digital resources like The Gathering to help pregnant people navigate their health during and after the birth of their infant. EverThrive Illinois believes all birthing people and infants in our state should have positive health outcomes that are not determined or impacted by their race, ethnicity, class, identity, or immigration status. We will continue to create community-centered solutions to support positive health outcomes for communities most impacted by health injustice.