1.1.b.1: Decrease the percentage of infants born with low birth weight among Blacks from 9.6% in 2011 to 6.4% by 2020

Why is this a priority?

Babies that weigh less than 5 lbs 8 oz (2500 grams) at birth are considered to have low birth weight. These babies have a greater risk of serious health problems or even death. Our goal is to give all babies a healthy start. Babies born at a healthy weight supports this goal.

How are we doing?

In 2015, about 9.6% of Black babies born had a low birth weight.

What are we working on?

There are two main reasons for a baby having low birth weight – a mother’s health prior to or during pregnancy and being born early. We are working on both of these issues .
Collaboration with Black Infant Health Program. We continue to work with Black Infant Health Program increase healthy births in Pierce County. With the support of 28 local Black churches and other organizations, this unique community partnership educates pregnant women about prenatal care and child rearing, provides outreach and referral to the First Steps program, and helps with basic needs such as housing, food,transportation, clothing and baby items.
Coordination of Washington State Perinatal Collaborative. There are many different organizations committed to improving the health of mothers and babies in Washington. This group strategizes on statewide initiatives to improve perinatal outcomes. The organizations include: the March of Dimes, the Washington State Hospital Association, Health Care Authority, the University of Washington and the Washington State Perinatal Regional Network.
Family planning. Babies born preterm are more likely to have low birth weight. Women who have already had a preterm birth are more likely to have another one. Having at least one year between pregnancies can reduce the chance of having another preterm birth. In order to allow enough time before having another baby, women need access to reliable birth control. We fund twelve family planning agencies across the state.
Partnering with healthcare providers. We are working with healthcare providers on how to increase access to and appropriate use of 17 OH-Progesterone, a medication that may prevent preterm birth for women who have already had a preterm birth. We also develop and maintain tools for providers to use to help pregnant women address substance use, including smoking. We also continue to work with the Washington State Hospital Association(WSHA) on the Safe Delivery Roadmap, a list of evidenced-based practice recommendations for the continuum of perinatal care, from pre-pregnancy through the pregnancy,delivery, and postpartum phases.
Prenatal care. Health Care Authority leads the effort to help pregnant women on Medicaid get prenatal care as early as possible. As of February 2016, there are 843,967 children enrolled in Apple Health for Kids. Health Care Authority provides one year of family planning services to clients who received pregnancy related benefits from Medicaid. Referrals to support programs. We collaborate with Health Care Authority to promote the First Steps Maternity Support Services and Parent Child Assistance programs for low-income women. We also collaborate with the Department of Early Learning to support home visiting programs to help women have healthy pregnancies.
SNAP-Ed Health Outcomes Project. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education (SNAP-Ed) is a program for people eligible for SNAP benefits (otherwise known as Food Stamps). This new project helps SNAP-eligible pregnant women gain the right amount of weight during pregnancy.
Tobacco cessation. Smoking is a risk factor for preterm birth. We created a workbook for pregnant women on how to quit smoking.It will be distributed by healthcare providers, Maternity Support Service programs, and local WIC clinics. Washington also continues to work to reduce the smoking rate by supporting Tobacco 21 legislation to raise the legal age of purchase of tobacco from 18 to 21 years old. CDC funds the Washington State Tobacco Quitline 1-800-QUIT-NOW for the uninsured and under-insured to help men and women of Washington State to quit smoking.
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program. WIC is a nutrition program for pregnant women, new and breastfeeding moms, and children under 5. WIC provides nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support and vouchers for a wide variety of nutritious foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables. Pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, and children from birth to five years old, who live below 185% of the federal poverty level, are eligible for WIC. We are working on a new electronic benefits transfer (EBT) project that would replace the paper checks currently issued to WIC clients. We are doing more outreach to the black community to reach pregnant women who are eligible for WIC.

How can you help?

All women

Ask yourself if you can do more to improve your health. Even if you do not plan to get pregnant, you may feel better with even small changes. If you do get pregnant, then you improve the chances that you will have a healthy baby. If you don't want to get pregnant in the next year, talk with your healthcare providers about all of your birth control options.
  • If you smoke, try to quit. If you need help quitting smoking, call the Washington State Quitline at 1-800-784-8669 or visit our website. For more information about e-cigarettes or vaping devices visit our website.
  • Think about your goals for having or not having children by creating a Reproductive Life Plan.
  • All women should take 400-600 mcg of folic acid every day. Apple Heath (Medicaid) now covers this with a prescription from your healthcare provider.
  • For more information on making positive changes for your health, visit our website.

Pregnant women

There are many things you can do to be healthy while you are pregnant. In doing so, you can improve the chances that you will have a healthy baby.
  • If you are pregnant, you may be eligible for WIC, the nutrition program for pregnant women, new and breastfeeding moms and children under give. Call the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588 or visit this website.
  • If you have diabetes, learn how to prevent problems during your pregnancy by visiting this website.
  • If you smoke, try to quit. If you need help quitting smoking, call the Washington State Quitline at 1-800-784-8669 or visit our website. For more information about e-cigarettes or vaping devices visit our website.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use any drugs (including marijuana) while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. For more information about the effects of marijuana on pregnancy visit this website . If you need help to stop using, call the Washington Recovery Help Line at 1-866-789-1511.
  • Healthy babies are worth the wait. If your pregnancy is normal, wait for labor to begin naturally.

Women who have already had a preterm birth

Babies born early are more likely to have a low birth weight. If you had a preterm birth, your chances of having another one are higher. This means that you need to take special care of yourself.
  • Wait 18 months before trying to get pregnant again. Having at least one year between pregnancies can reduce the chance of having another preterm birth. In the meantime, use a reliable birth control method. For more information, visit our website.
    • Take folic acid every day.
    • Treat and prevent gum disease.
    • Find healthy ways to reduce stress in your life.
    • Stop smoking and try not to be around people who are smoking. This includes e-cigarettes and vaping devices. If you need help quitting smoking, call the Washington State Quitline at 1-800-784-8669 or visit our website . For more information about e-cigarettes or vaping devices, visit our website .
Related Measure:
Reported by: Department of Health