Healthy Babies

As an Alliance, we want to make sure that every baby in our state has the best chance to start a healthy life; and we have selected two indicators to track success: infant mortality and low birth weight.

Scroll down to find information about these indicators, potential partners, and resources for improvement.

*Disparity Gap: The gap is higher for the disadvantaged group

Help improve the health of ALL babies in South Carolina today

South Carolina Healthy Mothers and Healthy Babies Plan

The Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Plan includes five recommendations and 34 strategies to reduce infant mortality in South Carolina through impacting the main drivers of infant mortality in our state: birth defects, low birth-weight/prematurity, risky behaviors and injury.

The five recommendations are:

  1. Improve access to systems of care for women before, during and after pregnancy.
  2. Promote use of evidence-based patient practices by healthcare providers and families.
  3. Promote health across the lifespan.
  4. Develop data systems to understand and inform efforts.
  5. Eliminate disparities and promote health equity.

Review the document for details about the 34 strategies and join the South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative and/or the South Carolina Safe Sleep Coalition to network and work with leaders committed to improving the health of moms and babies.

Birth Outcomes Initiative

The South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative is an effort of over 100 stakeholders to improve the health outcomes for newborns in South Carolina. Their primary focus areas are:

  • Elimination of elective inductions for non-medically indicated deliveries prior to 39 weeks gestation
  • Reducing the number of admissions and the average length of stay in neonatal intensive care units
  • Reducing health disparities
  • Making 17P, a compound that helps prevent pre-term births, available to all at-risk pregnant women with no “hassle factor”
  • Implementing a universal screening and referral tool (SBIRT) in the physician’s office to screen pregnant women and 12 months post-delivery for tobacco use, substance abuse, alcohol, depression and domestic violence
  • Promoting Baby Friendly Certified Hospitals and Breast Feeding

For more information on South Carolina’s Birth Outcomes Initiative, contact BZ Giese


Safe Sleep Coalition

At the request of the Joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children, Children’s Trust of South Carolina formed the statewide South Carolina Safe Sleep Coalition in January 2012. The Coalition represents more than 30 organizations convening to address rising rates of unsafe sleep practices that result in injury and death. Including hospital systems, public social service agencies, nonprofit organizations and state agencies, the members collaborate to positively affect the following statistics:

  • South Carolina is ranked 45th in Nation for Infant Mortality.
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) continues to be third leading cause of death in infants.
  • Despite declining overall infant mortality rates in South Carolina, deaths due to SIDS increased by 11.4 percent in 2010.
  • The number of infant deaths in South Carolina due to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed has more than DOUBLED since 2004.

The Coalition’s focus is to deliver a single safe sleep message to parents, caregivers and providers through health, child care, faith-based, social services, community and public safety organizations.

On March 2014, the first Safe Sleep Summit brought together more than 150 individuals from diverse agencies who helped develop specific strategies and practice recommendations to reduce the number of infant deaths in South Carolina from unsafe sleep environments. Additionally, a safe sleep curriculum and implementation plan is currently being developed to share with partners.

To join the South Carolina Safe Sleep Coalition please email Heidi Aakjer .

Local Efforts

PASOs programs pre-conception health initiatives

The PASOs programs provide education, resource navigation and leadership development for Latino families in South Carolina. Click above to learn about their pre-conception health initiatives.

Family Solutions of the Low Country: Low-Country Healthy Start

In South Carolina today, the Low Country Healthy Start program is working in high risk communities to reduce the devastating and costly consequences of infants born too soon. These infants born too early weigh too little and are very likely to continue to live their lives with less than optimum health. The Low Country Healthy Start program is focused on reducing infant mortality and eliminating perinatal disparities.

Nurse Family Partnership SC

Through Nurse-Family Partnership, women pregnant with their first child are paired with a registered nurse trained to educate, encourage and support them through the first two years of motherhood. This approach has proven to counter risks to babies such as low birth weight, premature birth and developmental problems. Click above to see the locations of NFP in South Carolina.

South Carolina Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting

This program provides voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services to at-risk pregnant women and parents with young children.

SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

Teen pregnancy prevention programs are one of the best investments we can make in South Carolina’s future. According to a 2010 report by the University of Iowa’s Public Policy Center, each tax dollar spent on programs to prevent unintended pregnancy saved taxpayers an average of $3.78 in the first year—nearly a 400% return on investment.

Access to Long Active Reversible Contraception (LARCs)

Providing women with easy access to LARC methods, including immediately post-partum, greatly reduces the risk of unplanned pregnancies, and improves the health of newborns and mothers by facilitating healthy spacing between pregnancies. Click here for Billing policy

WIC Program

WIC is a nutrition program that provides health education, healthy foods, breastfeeding support, and other services free of charge to South Carolina families who qualify. To apply for WIC or to make an appointment, call 1-800-868-0404. Or locate a clinic here:

Centering Pregnancy

Centering Pregnancy provides a fun, engaged way for women to receive prenatal care and has proven to be effective to reduce pre-term birth and low-birthweight.

Mothers’ Milk Bank of South Carolina

The Bank promotes the health of South Carolina babies by providing access to safe, pasteurized donor human milk to very low birth weight (VLBW) babies. Human breast milk prevents Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC) which is a life-threatening infection typically affecting babies born before 32 weeks gestation.


Databases and Tools

South Carolina Community Assessment Network (SCAN)

This is the DHEC tool that allows organizations to access information about births, deaths, cancer incidence, infant mortality, hospital acquired infections, population, pregnancy, and community profiles.


Bright Spots outside of SC

Pathways model decreases by 50%+ Low Birth-weight in at-risk mothers

Pathways is a model that identifies women who are at risk of having poor birth outcomes, and uses community health workers (CHWs) to address the women’s health and social service issues.  For more information about the entire model and how to replicate it, visit