News & Publications
On November 3, 2017, Solano HEALS was featured in the Daily Republic, Solano County's News Source.
During the Solano County Board of Supervisors Meeting on October 24, 2017, Vanessa Stallworth shared her personal story about prematurity and co-leads Sakari Lyons of Black Infant Health Program and Lakethia-Lake Pascua of Kaiser Permanente accepted the Prematurity Awareness Resolution.
Rate of premature births – top cause of infant mortality – on rise
FAIRFIELD — Vanessa Stallworth works to make sure other mothers do not have to go through what she did.
Stallworth watched her son, Elijah Joseph Parker, die four days after his birth, which came about six months into her pregnancy.
“I am a big, big, big, big fan of Prematurity Awareness Month, March of Dimes, Solano HEALS,” Stallworth told the Solano County Board of Supervisors on Oct. 24.
Solano Health Equity for All Lives in Solano is a relatively new community collaborative headed by the county and Kaiser Permanente that is studying a variety of health issues.
The board, with Supervisor Monica Brown absent, adopted a resolution recognizing November as Prematurity Awareness Month.
“I love what I do,” said Stallworth, who is the office manager at La Clinica Great Beginnings in Vallejo. “It is important for mothers to get prenatal care as early as possible; it is important for them to get educated. Had I known what I know now, I probably would have done things differently.”
Premature birth is the leading cause of infant mortality (up to 1 year) and lifelong disabilities – and with 380,000 premature births in the U.S. in 2016, the rate of giving birth before 37 weeks is on the rise.
In fact, after seven years of decline, the rate of premature births increased to 9.84 percent in the United States, the second straight year the country experienced an increase.
There were 451 premature births to Solano County mothers in 2016, and that includes births outside of the county. That represents 8.6 percent of all births, said Susan Whalen, the senior health education specialist and perinatal service coordinator for the county.
“And I would not say there is a significant statistical trend upward” for premature births in the county, Whalen said.
However, just like the national numbers show, premature births is the top cause for children dying before age 1, as well as the development of serious lifelong disabilities.
“. . . The more than a quarter-million infants, or 1 in 10 births, born prematurely in the United States each year may face weeks or months in the neonatal intensive care unit . . . as well as increased risk of serious medical complications and death,” the resolution states.
“. . . Lifestyle and environmental risks such as late or no prenatal care, smoking, drinking alcohol or using drugs, exposure to domestic violence, lack of social support, extremely high levels of stress, and long working hours with prolonged periods of standing may put a woman at greater risk of preterm birth; and . . . medical conditions including previous preterm birth, pregnancy with multiples or certain uterine or cervical abnormalities, diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity may also contribute to premature birth,” the resolution states.
County health officials noted that reducing premature births will also reduce the demand on public health resources.
Link to original article available here.