Commonly Asked Questions

Commonly Asked Questions

What is infant mortality?

When a baby dies after taking their first breath, but before he or she reaches their first birthday.

What causes babies to die within the first year, and how can I prevent it?

The three primary causes of infant mortality are perinatal complications, birth defects and SUIDs.

To help prevent these, follow the tips below:

Prenatal Care
Prenatal care begins long before you plan to become pregnant. Having a healthy baby takes advanced planning. Schedule regular prenatal appointments, maintain a healthy weight, take folic acid and avoid tobacco, alcohol and drugs.

Safe Sleep
Everyone—caregivers, family members, dads and moms—should practice the ABCs of safe sleep. Babies need to sleep alone, on their back and in a crib.

Breastfeeding provides vital nutrients for babies and helps moms lose weight. It’s best to provide a healthy and positive breastfeeding environment for both mom and baby.

Stop Smoking
Smoking or using any drugs can cause the placenta to restrict or separate causing harm to the baby. Secondhand smoke is also dangerous to a baby’s health.

Early Elective Delivery
Babies aren’t fully developed until least 39 weeks of pregnancy. Babies born even a few weeks early have the possibility of experiencing serious medical complications.

Level of Hospital Care
Talk to your health care provider to make sure that the delivery facility you choose has the proper equipment to deliver your baby.

Where can I find support?

There are many resources for you to learn about healthy habits during pregnancy. Here are just a few. For more information, visit our resources page.

Maintain Healthy Weight
To learn more about eating right and moving more visit INShape Indiana.

Avoid Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs
Connect with resources to help you get healthy at Quit Now Indiana and Indiana Substance Abuse Treatment .

Take Folic Acid Regularly
Learn more about the importance of folic acid from the March of Dimes.

Visit a Physician
Click here to find a health care provider in your area.

For referral services call the MCH MOMS Helpline at 1-844-MCH-MOMS (1-844-624-6667) or visit

How can dads and other family members help?

It is important that mom and baby are monitored regularly throughout the pregnancy. Dads and other family members can help by taking moms to regular prenatal appointments with a health care provider.

SIDS is the number one cause of death in a baby’s first year, often happening without warning to
healthy babies. The good news is that many risk factors for SIDS are easily preventable. Dads and other family members should know the ABCs of safe sleep.

  1. Alone: Infants should always sleep ALONE. The American Academy of Pediatrics warns that babies should never go to sleep with anyone or be involved in co-sleeping.
  2. Back: Infants should always sleep on their BACK on a firm surface with a tightly fitted bottom sheet. Soft surfaces like cushy mattresses or sofas are not safe places for a baby to sleep.
  3. Crib: The safest place for a baby is in a CRIB, not a bed or sofa. A crib should be free and clear of toys, stuffed animals, bumper pads and blankets.

Secondhand smoke is dangerous to mom and baby’s health. Dads and family members should refrain from smoking around mom and baby.