Never Forgotten, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

The lives of one in four women and families are forever altered by the death of their child during pregnancy, at birth and in infancy. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over a million pregnancies end in miscarriages or stillbirths each year.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month serves to raise awareness of the need for support, encourage people to talk, and honors the lives of babies who have passed. It was established to celebrate and remember babies who have passed away due to miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death, and other causes of infant loss. This month has become a safe space for those grieving the loss of their baby as well as others trying to cope and who are in need of comfort.

Eighteen years ago Robyn Bear, Lisa Brown, and Tammy Novak petitioned federal government to recognize the specific day October 15th. National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day was eventually passed by the House of Representatives on September 28, 2006.

In our state of New Jersey, we are experiencing our own maternal and infant crisis. Maternal mortality rates in New Jersey are among the highest in the United States. Women and babies of color in New Jersey are five times more likely to die than a white mother due to pregnancy complications. In their first year of life an African American baby is three time more likely to die than a white baby.

In response to this crisis, First Lady Tammy Murphy launched Nurture NJ as a statewide awareness campaign committed to reducing the number of infant and maternal mortality. Focusing on improving the collaborations and programming between departments, agencies, and stakeholders to achieve the goal of making New Jersey the safest place in the country to give birth and raise a baby. As an instrument to achieve the goal Lady Tammy Murphy along with the New Jersey Department of Health assembled a New Maternal Mortality Review Committee. Our CEO of Henry J. Austin Health Center, Dr. Kemi Alli is a committee member.

In an effort to encourage and empower moms or caregivers, raise well-child visits, immunization rates, and extend breastfeeding rates Henry J. Austin Health Center offers a new program this year called Centering Families. A group care model by Centering Healthcare Institute. The CenteringParenting model combines one-on-one child health assessment, interactive learning, and community building in a postnatal group setting. Centering Families brings a group of five to six moms and baby pairs for care during their first two year of life. Providers will provide well-child care based on well-child visits schedules in nine, two-hour group sessions.

For more information or to sign up contact Centering Families Coordinator, Preeti Bhandari at or call 609-278-6009.

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