Parenting classes hope to decrease infant mortality

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Hospital networks across the state are working hard to decrease infant mortality. And one parenting class is working to do so by providing post-pregnancy care for both moms and babies.

What You Need To Know

  • CenteringParenting classes are offered in hopes of decreasing infant mortality rates
  • In 2020, in Franklin County, the infant mortality rate was 9.5 to 9.8 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births
  • In Hamilton and Cuyahoga counties, the rate is the highest range in the state from 9.9 to 12.5
  • The classes teach moms a range of topics, from safe sleep to car seat safety to breastfeeding 

Three-month-old Davynci Hopkins and his mom Ryeisha are part of Grant Medical Center’s first CenteringParenting Program led by Lauren Hackett.

Hackett leads moms during pregnancy and then after with their babies to teach them all about being a mom, including safe sleep.

“We want to work on preventing infant mortality,” Hackett said. “So we can do that by sleeping in a sleep sack.”

Lauren Hackett puts Davynci in a sleep sack to demonstrate safe sleep (Spectrum News/Katie Kapusta)

The goal of the CenteringParenting program is to reduce infant mortality. In Franklin county in 2020, infant deaths are between 8.5 to 9.8 per 1000 live births, according to the Ohio Department of Health. In Hamilton and Cuyahoga counties, it’s at the highest rate in the state at 9.9 to 12.5. That’s why programs like these are so important.

“It allows us to check in on mom and baby on a regular interval,” Hackett said. “So we can check on mom’s mental health and see how she’s doing. Follow up on breastfeeding, which has shown to decrease those infant mortality rates, continued education for safe sleep and for car seat safety, and all those things that play into decreasing that infant mortality and allowing babies to celebrate their first year of birth.”

Ryeisha says although little Davynci is her fourth baby, the program has helped her feel like she’s not alone.

“Being here made it feel like I had a little village with me to ask questions if I didn’t quite understand,” Ryeisha said. “Yeah, this is my fourth baby, but every baby is different.”

Hackett says the fact that these moms go through pregnancy together with the CenteringPregnancy program helps them bond.

Hackett says she enjoys getting to know the babies through the program (Spectrum News/Katie Kapusta)

“They have been through their entire pregnancy together,” Hackett said. “So they know each other well, they exchange phone numbers, they keep tabs on one another and they really enjoy seeing each other once a month or as they come back for their well-child care. They’ve created a really good bond and relationship.”

And while this little guy can be all smiles, Ryeisha knows she has support when she needs it.

Davynci is Ryeisha’s fourth child, but she says every child is different (Spectrum News/Katie Kapusta)

“It makes me feel like I have a family here,” she said.

CenteringParenting Classes are available at nine different medical centers and hospitals across the state. For a full list of providers for both the CenteringParenting and CenteringPregnancy classes click here.