A program that works to lower Utah's infant mortality rate and reduce the number of low-birth-weight newborns was honored Wednesday by Gov. Norm Bangerter, who proclaimed Oct. 23-29 as Baby Your Baby Week.
The Baby Your Baby program was created through a $1.7 million appropriation by the 1987 Legislature to the Utah Department of Health to help women and infants, particularly those from low-income families, have a better chance of receiving necessary prenatal care.The program, offered by local health departments and community health centers throughout the state, gave prenatal care to nearly 2,000 women and their babies during the past 12 months, said Dr. Peter van Dyck, director of the state Division of Family Health Services.
In addition to helping those mothers have healthier babies, the program helps families save money that would be spent on newborn care and conserves health-care resources.
On average, a baby born 3 pounds underweight requires more than $60,000 in newborn care, while a healthy baby of average weight requires only $4,000, van Dyck said.
The state appropriation has been partially matched with federal Medicaid funds. Services available through the program to women and children eligible for Medicaid include nutrition counseling, high-risk screening, childbirth and parent education classes and psychological counseling.