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Community advocates spread message about preventative measures for infant mortality

Posted at 6:14 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 09:58:14-04

MILWAUKEE — Little Terrell White was born May 23, 2013. White tragically lived just seventeen hours, but his short life has had a big impact.

“His life has changed so many other lives by encouraging me to fight and let other families know that hey, we have an issue in our City,” said Tonda Thompson, mother of Terrell.

After losing her son to labor complications, Tonda spent years raising awareness about infant mortality in the City of Milwaukee.

“It was a tragic situation a situation that did not have to happen if we had proper access to adequate equable health care,” said Tonda.

According to the City of Milwaukee Health Department, about 100 babies born in the city do not make it to their first birthday. Nearly 56% of Milwaukee’s infant deaths are mainly due to infants being born premature and, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control, the rate of death is three times higher for black mothers and babies than other races.

“We need to know we can implement preventative methods to reduce this,” said Tonda.

Thursday afternoon during the 10th Annual Strong Baby Sabbath Event, community leaders and advocates spoke on the importance of preventative measures by providing access to health care, doulas, and the Ascension’s Blanket of Love program where 36 churches provide services and educational information to expecting mothers and families.

“If you have a doula who is from your community, the rate, we see much drastic differences and decreases in maternal mortality,” said Nicole Miles, City of Milwaukee Program Manager, Birth Outcomes Made Better (BOMB) Doula Program

“If a woman receives seven or more prenatal care visits, the risk of her baby being in the intensive care unit drops by half,” said Dr. Mattew Lee, MD, FACOG, Ascension Medical Group.

Tonda said it’s Terrell's life that made her a stronger woman, and through their story, she hopes to remind other women about the importance of seeking help and proper care.

“Enjoy the moment of pregnancy and make sure it's a safe pregnancy and you stay healthy and stay in a healthy environment," said Tonda.

To learn more about infant mortality in the City of Milwaukee click here.

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