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A local sorority raising awareness for healthy pregnancies and babies

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Posted at 7:01 PM, Dec 08, 2012
and last updated 2012-12-08 19:01:00-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) -- Women in the Big Bend area got a chance to learn about prenatal care as well as pregnancy and childcare during Saturday's fourth annual community baby shower hosted by the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.

One of the goals is to help fight infant mortality rates.

To some, the statistics are quite alarming. In Florida, the infant mortality rate is 6.5 per 1,000 live births. That's according to the 2010 Florida vital statistics annual report.  But locally, efforts are being made to bring that number down.

Amanda Tyler is pregnant with her first child. She said she's expecting any day now.

She said she was at the event to make sure she has a healthy baby.

“I've learned with the breastfeeding they had a class saying that I can breastfeed up to two years so I know breastfeeding has a lot to do with the health issues,” Tyler said.  

The fourth annual community baby shower focusing on a number of health and social issues like infant mortality: why it happens and how these expecting parents can make sure it doesn't happen to their children.

Melvena Wilson, vice president of health programs at the sorority says the statistics are alarming.

“2.5 times more likely among African American women than whites,” Wilson said.  

Wilson said some of the reasons for a higher infant mortality rate amongst minority groups have to do with stress, exercise and nutrition. But she said it can be prevented.

“Making sure you're at the right weight, that you listen to some of those risk factors about stress, controlling your environment, income, all those things that will stress you out so that before you get pregnant you're as healthy as possible and then that you're getting seen regularly in a physician's office,” she said.

And there's one thing that Wilson says everyone can do.

“The best thing people can do is educate themselves. Get in with their physician early and often,” she said.

As for Tyler, she said she does think about those statistics from time to time but she knows there is help out there as she enters motherhood.

“There's a lot of counseling I know that's going around in my community so if I do have a problem or I want to know more information I know I can go to those counseling programs and learn a lot more,” she said.