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San Antonio Targets Infant Mortality Rates With Community Baby Showers

Vanessa Rodriguez
Healthy Start San Antonio
The Babywearing Dancers perform for dozens of moms-to-be at Healthy Start's community baby shower on the South Side.

A baby shower for dozens of women on the South Side of San Antonio was part of an effort to reduce infant mortality in the city.

The shower was part of Metro Health'sHealthy Start program.

Credit Bonnie Petrie / Texas Public Radio
Pregnant women on the South Side played traditional baby shower games with prizes. They also were connected to resources Metro Health San Antonio hopes with improve infant mortality rates in certain zip codes.

Vanessa Rodriguez, a neighborhood engagement supervisor with Healthy Start, organized the event.

“It's like your baby shower but times 10, where we have the free food, the drinks, the prizes, your traditional baby shower games,” Rodriguez said. “At the same time we're also doing presentations on safe sleep, shaken baby syndrome, and connecting the community and all the wonderful families with over 30 different community resources and agencies who are giving out important information to help them have healthy pregnancies, healthy birth outcomes."

Healthy Start's goal is to reduce the city's infant mortality rate, which a UT System study found is nearly three times higher than the state average in some San Antonio zip codes.

"We focus on the areas where they have the highest infant mortality rates, and we're there to provide that added support to help them through the pregnancy all the way up to when the baby is 2 years of age," Rodriguez said.

Jessica Campos and her 8-month-old Natalia were guests at the shower, and they've used Healthy Start's services.

Campos said the agency's home visitors, who come to her house once or twice a month, make sure Natalia is hitting all of her milestones. They also teach Campos about things like proper nutrition and healthy child development. They've become an essential part of Campos's support system.

"More like counseling and they're very helpful with that,” Campos said. “You're able to express your concerns and they listen, and a shoulder to cry on (and) … to lean on.

“They're just helpful, very kind women.”

Campos said Natalia is thriving.

"Oh yes, very happy baby. She loves the program. She loves the ladies. They're very sweet. Everyone is kind and very welcoming," she said.

The next healthy Start baby shower is tentatively scheduled for November.

Bonnie Petrie can be reached at bonnie@tpr.org or on Twitter @kbonniepetrie