A new study shows birth weights for Oneida county newborns are going up, a good sign and that education is working says an Oneida County public health nurse.
A state report shows the percent of babies born here with a low birth weight is just over 6 percent.
Oneida's figure is about one point lower than the state average. Low birth weight is defined as being under 2,500 grams or just over five pounds.
Dawn Klink says babies born early cause problems for parents...
"....the health problems are many and the costs are a factor as well because often then have to get transferred to another facility that has a (special unit) and have to go on different types of support. The costs become a factor for a lot of people...."
Klink says the special units won't allow the child to be released until it reaches 5 pounds and in some cases, that could take awhile. Klink says the child often has vision problems and is much slower to get to the mental ability average for a child their age.
Klink says there are factors for low birth weight babies and says they have programs to help expectant moms...
"....smoking is one of them. We try to get the message out there that you shouldn't smoke during pregnancy and if you do smoke cut way back. We have a program called "First Breath, My Baby and Me" that works with moms that are smoking during their pregnancy and to have a healthier lifestyle...."
They also have the WIC program...Women, Infants and Children...that helps women and families with good nutrition. Low birth weights are also linked to exposure to lead and harmful toxins. Klink says they also have women test the water where they live to check for harmful contaminants.
More information is at your local county health department