CSRA Ranks High in Infant Mortality Rates and Teen Pregnancies - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

CSRA Ranks High in Infant Mortality Rates and Teen Pregnancies

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Augusta, GA -

Georgia's average for infant deaths has declined over the years according to the Department of Health.

But doctors say the CSRA has one of the highest rates of newborn deaths after a normal delivery.

Richmond County averages 35 infant deaths every year -- a rate that's 4 times higher the national average.

"I think you can make a direct correlation between the distance you have to a health care provider and the risk of losing a child," said Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at GRU, Paul Browne.

"I think it's ridiculous – that's a lot of people who don't know what they are doing or don't care," said expectant mother, Esther Macies.

Esther Macies had 2 premature babies, and will deliver her 3rd child in November. She says she commutes nearly 2 hour from Swainsboro for her check-ups.

"Make sure you take them for check ups. There are a lot of diseases out there," said Macies.

According to the Department of Health, premature deliveries, birth defects and teen pregnancies are the leading cause of infant deaths.

"We have a high rate of teen pregnancy –in fact the highest in the state," said Browne.

"Teens tend to be a little less educated about safe practices and sometimes need help from their own mom," said Browne.

Doctors also say more new mothers die in Georgia than in any other state.

They say the biggest problem is a lack-of access - more than two thirds of Georgia counties don't have an OB/GYN, and that forces many expectant mothers to travel to other counties for deliveries.

"The easiest way to not have unplanned child's death, is to not have an unplanned pregnancy," said Browne.

There's a smart phone app for new moms and expectant moms called TEXT 4 BABY – you'll get reminders on vaccinations and whether you're baby should be crawling, walking or talking at a given month.

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