During the past several months, four of our hospitals earned the “Baby Friendly” designation from a global program that encourages and recognizes hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Baptist DeSoto was the first hospital in our system to earn it, followed closely by Baptist North Mississippi, Baptist Golden Triangle and Baptist Union County. Earning this designation took years, and our labor and delivery teams worked extremely hard to ensure their units complied with the stringent requirements. They never wavered in their commitment to offer this high level of service to their patients.
Mississippi Baptist Medical Center and Baptist North Mississippi were among 18 Mississippi hospitals that participated in the Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices (CHAMPS) study, which examined breastfeeding initiation rates among hospitals that implemented Baby-Friendly practices. The journal Pediatrics published the results, which showed a significant increase in breastfeeding rates, particularly among African-American women.
In the months since McKenzie Regional Hospital in West Tennessee closed and the community lost its OB/GYNs and midwives, our Baptist Medical Group OB/GYN clinics have stepped in to fill the need. They’re providing prenatal care to an increasing number of women, many of whom are TennCare patients with few other options. Baptist Medical Group even added an OB/GYN to better serve patients.
I’ve written to you in the past about Baptist Women’s Hospital’s efforts to reduce maternal mortality by better estimating blood loss during labor. They are sharing their techniques with our other hospitals and saving lives throughout the communities we serve.
This is some of the most important work we do, particularly because moms and babies in the states we serve are disproportionately affected by maternal and infant mortality. And as our teams continue their great work to enhance our labor and delivery care, we’ll continue investing in this crucial service. We are blessed to welcome more than 11,000 babies a year into this world, and we must do all we can to give them the best start in life.
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