Tag Archives: newborns

DHEC in the News: HIV, hurricane season, Vitamin D supplements

Here’s a look at health and environmental news from around South Carolina.

Two thirds of patients with HIV had missed opportunities for prep

New findings from a retrospective cohort study revealed that 66% of patients newly diagnosed with HIV in South Carolina visited a health care facility before their diagnosis. The health care visits occurred after the CDC had issued interim guidance recommending daily pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, for patients at risk for HIV and, therefore, likely represent missed opportunities for its use, according to researchers.

General Interest

Hurricane season starts Friday. Here’s what forecasters predict will happen.

With surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean suggesting a less active hurricane season than previously thought, Tropical Meteorology Project lead scientist Phil Klotzbach on Thursday became the first of the forecasters to down-scale his earlier predictions.

He dropped one storm from each category which range from named-storms to catastrophic.

The numbers still suggest an active year.

Here’s How Vitamin D Supplements Can Help New Moms (And Newborns)

Vitamin D has been touted as a must-have vitamin in recent years as studies have shown that many Americans are deficient.

Getting vitamin D is important since it can help with calcium absorption and has roles in immune function and cell growth, among others. While the vitamin is found in some foods and can be obtained via ultraviolet light, nearly 50 percent of the population worldwide has insufficient levels, according to a 2012 study.

But understanding what’s the right amount of vitamin D for young children, pregnant women, and others, can be difficult.

DHEC And Its Partners Work To Prevent Infant Mortality

By Adrianna Bradley

The first year of life for newborn babies are exciting and scary. As proud new moms and dads fawn over their bundle of joy that joy is tempered by the loss of sleep and a fear of losing their child to some illness, accident or other condition.

Infant deaths are a great concern for our country and the world. Its impact on families and society is devastating.

DHEC monitors infant deaths

DHEC annually collects data to monitor infant death rates across South Carolina.

“Infant mortality has always been a long-standing indicator of population health across the board,” said Kimberly Seals, director of DHEC’s Bureau of Maternal Child Health. “We measure infant mortality to have a broad perspective of population health overall.”

South Carolina’s infant death rates from 2006 to 2016 have dropped 16 percent. The positive trend in reducing infant deaths is due to the work of DHEC staff, our public health partners, parents, and doctors. Some of those partners are the S.C. Hospital Association, PASOs, and the March of Dimes South Carolina Chapter.

Campaigns and programs help curb deaths

DHEC also conducts education campaigns and support programs to address prenatal and post-natal care for infants. These campaigns, programs, and initiatives are vital in keeping S.C.’s babies from becoming a death statistic.

These efforts are critical and on any given day, things can go wrong and they can go wrong quickly. New and first-time mom, Angelica Smith, is familiar with how the routine can quickly turn into an emergency.

It happened March of 2016 when a DHEC newborn home visit nurse, Ann Gordon, went to visit the new mom and baby at their Cherokee County home. Ann was talking with the family when she noticed Angelica had a strange look on her face as she held baby Jacob.

“I looked at him and noticed that his face had started turning blue,” Angelica Smith said.

“I said, Angelica, let me see the baby! He was not breathing and he had no heartbeat,” Ann Gordon said. “I told Angelica to call 911 and started doing CPR on the baby.”

Thanks to this DHEC program and Ann’s actions, little Jacob’s life was saved.

Leading causes of death

Data shows the leading causes of death for newborns are the following:

  • Birth defects
  • Preterm birth and low birth weights
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Accidents

DHEC is working with its partners to continue its progress in keeping even more of the youngest and most vulnerable alive. DHEC is determined to give every child in South Carolina the best chance possible for a happy and productive life.

View the below video for a closer look at DHEC’s efforts to address infant mortality in our state.

Attention moms: How you can donate surplus breast milk and help needy S.C. babies

By Mary-Kathryn Craft

milk bank

S.C. moms can now support other moms and premature newborns by donating breast milk to the Mother’s Milk Bank of South Carolina.

The milk bank, which opened this spring and is the second of its kind in the Southeast, provides the perfect opportunity for healthy breastfeeding mothers with surplus milk to help babies in need.

Mother’s milk is important for newborns, especially for premature, very low birth weight babies who are at higher risk for many serious health conditions. Sometimes new moms find it difficult to make enough milk for their premature, very low birth weight infants.

This is why the milk bank was created by various partners including the Medical University of South Carolina, the S.C. Neonatal Consortium and the S.C. Birth Outcomes Initiative. Donated milk is distributed to hospitalized, very low birth weight infants statewide.

The milk bank is currently housed at MUSC, and there are donation drop-off sites at DHEC health departments, as well as hospitals and pediatric clinics throughout the Palmetto State.

Becoming a donor is easy. The Mother’s Milk Bank of South Carolina follows all standards established by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America to ensure safety and be recognized as an accredited milk bank.  Each donor will be required to go through a screening process in order to meet these standards.

You’re likely to qualify as a donor if:

  • You’re generally healthy,
  • You don’t smoke,
  • You’re willing to undergo a blood test. (Tests will be no cost to you and arranged at a nearby location.)
  • You’re able to transport your milk to a nearby drop-off site,
  • Your milk could be delivered to a baby within one year of pump date.

Learn more about how to become a donor at scmilkbank.org.

For breastfeeding tips and more information about its health benefits, check out DHEC’s page.