Infant mortality is the death of a baby who is less than 1 year old. In 2017, there were 4.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in Anne Arundel County for all races. Preterm birth (birth at less than 37 weeks) and low birth weight (5.5 pounds or less) are the leading causes of death among infants in the county. Pregnant women and new mothers should take these steps to help protect their babies:
• Stop using tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Avoid secondhand smoke.
• Achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
• Eat a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Drink plenty of fluids.
• Take a multivitamin that contains at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day.
• Manage chronic health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma.
• Follow the ABCs of safe sleeping. Babies should sleep and nap alone, on their backs, in a safe crib. Share a room but never a bed.
The Department of Health offers free healthy pregnancy and baby care kits to Anne Arundel County residents. To order the free kits, or for more information about having a healthy pregnancy and baby, visit www.aahealthybabies.org.