West Virginia Perinatal Wellness Study
The number of
West Virginia infants who die in the first year of life and
percent of low-birth weight babies have increased significantly
ranking West Virginia well below other states and below the
national average for these two indicators of child well-being.
West Virginia medical professionals report many pregnant women
continue to smoke, one of the leading associated risk factors
for low birth weight and for infant death, and in 2003 and over
26% of West Virginia pregnant women used tobacco during
pregnancy ranking West Virginia the worst state in the nation
for women who smoke during pregnancy.
Thirty four percent of infant deaths in 2003 were to infants of
mothers who smoked and infant mortality data also shows that
West Virginia minorities have a significantly greater rate of
infant death in the first month of life than do white infants.
Health professionals also report that West Virginia has a high
percent of infants receiving expensive neonatal intensive care
services and insufficient programs promoting perinatal wellness.
Across the nation, employers and managed care organizations are
recognizing the unique opportunity to protect and promote the
health and well-being of young children by supporting perinatal
wellness programs. Childbirth-related costs are the single
largest component of health care costs for many employers. One
unhealthy birth can cost anywhere from $20,000 to more than $1
million, compared to about $6,400 for a normal, healthy
delivery. Perinatal wellness programs have reduced employer
costs by millions of dollars.
Many stakeholder organizations* have joined together to help
increase public awareness and to address the issues involving
causes of poor birth outcomes in West Virginia. In addition
their goal is to increase the awareness of legislators,
administrations, policymakers and the public of the public
policy issues that are important to improving pregnancy outcome
in West Virginia; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate:
That the Senate hereby promotes the "West Virginia Perinatal
Wellness" study; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Senate is committed to
encouraging all businesses and public entities to participate in
the study and encourages all West Virginians to become active
in promoting the health of all pregnant women for the sake of
our future citizens; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Clerk is hereby directed to
forward a copy of this resolution to the Governor and the
Speaker of the House of Delegates.