New data ranks West Virginia as 49th in the nation for infant health

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America's Health Rankings: Health of Women and Children Report released this year's rankings and West Virginia can be found all the way towards the bottom.

"It's very worrisome that we're seeing these numbers like that, but with things that are going on with our health and environment and different factors, that's what we get, so I'm not too surprised with that," says Pediatrician Mary-Ann Kroll.

West Virginia is ranked 49th in the nation for infant health and is showing an increase in numbers for infant mortality, low birthweight, and preterm birth. The state is ranked 40th in the nation in infant mortality and 47th in the nation for both low birthweight and preterm birth.

"She was born 2 weeks early and she weighed 4lbs and 8 and a half ounces. I had high blood pressure and my atomic fluid was really down when I went in for my last appointment, so they induced me at 38 weeks" says Bridgeport mom Brittany Campbell.

Campbell says that this is the first time in her family's history where something like this has happened and it was an emotional experience.

"I would say scared, nervous, not understanding what's going on and why it's happening," says Campbell.

"One that's just luck or genetics that which we can't change that, but things that we can focus on or preventative things, like focusing on the care and health of our mothers, making sure they are healthy and in a good weight range as well as trying to cut down on smoking and drug use during pregnancy would help effect these numbers and our outcomes" says Dr. Kroll.

Dr. Kroll adds that all of these numbers go hand in hand. If a baby is born early, they are going to be smaller which increases their risk of infection and that can lead to mortality, therefore, that's why constant care is so important.

"We just keep a closer eye on them, watching their breathing and their weight gain and making sure they're meeting their milestones," says Dr. Kroll.

As for Campbell, she brings her 2-month little girl to the doctors every two weeks and after being in and out of the hospital with high fevers, her slight weight gain is a small victory worth celebrating.

"We're just now fitting in newborn clothes so it's like, 'oh my goodness'" says Campbell.

WEST VIRGINIA HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NEW DATA:
Child mortality decreased 8.8%
Since 2016 maternal mortality has decreased 14%
Tobacco use during pregnancy decreased 7%