TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Dozens of mothers gathered at the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department for a community baby shower to raise awareness for a new program is hoping to reduce pre-term births, one of the leading causes of infant mortality.
The new model involves a group of pre-natal care for pregnant women called Supportive Pregnancy Care or SPC.
"What we know about group care and prenatal care and supportive pregnancy care is that it reduces pre-term birth for all women by about 33 percent," said Lisa Amlung-Holloway of the March of Dimes.
SPC involves groups of women who are set to deliver around the same time.
"They will meet with a provider or two, or physicians or a midwife, or whoever is facilitating their prenatal care or who would normally be facilitating their pre-natal care," Amlung-Holloway said. "And they come together and they discuss different topics that are related to pregnancy."
Experts say babies born prematurely have a greater chance of suffering from lifelong disabilities and chronic health conditions, even death before their first birthday.
In Toledo, pre-term birth is the leading cause of infant mortality.
"The national average is about 9.8. It is higher here in Toledo. It's higher here in Ohio.," Amlung-Holloway said. "The March of Dimes gives grades to states and cities based on how they're performing, and we've received a "D" here."
In Lucas County, the pre-term birth rate is 11.2 percent.
Experts say there is a need for a well-rounded approach to help reduce pre-term birth, such as group pre-natal care.