Reps. Lindauer, Ellington: New resources available to support Hoosier moms, newborns

Posted by: Jordan Wallace  | Tuesday, July 7, 2020

STATEHOUSE (July 7, 2020) – To help lower Indiana's high maternal and infant mortality rates, State Reps. Shane Lindauer (R-Jasper) and Jeff Ellington (R-Bloomington) said there are new resources available for Hoosier moms and their newborns.

With the seventh-highest infant mortality rate in the nation, more than 600 Hoosier babies died before their first birthday in 2017, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. Indiana also has one of the highest maternal mortality rates. Lindauer, vice chair of the House Public Health Committee, said engaging more at-risk expectant mothers in early prenatal care is key to lowering these numbers.  

"Starting a family is one of the greatest joys in the world," Lindauer said. "Unfortunately, some mothers don't have access to medical care and face obstacles preventing them from enjoying parenthood. The MOMS Helpline is available for any expecting mothers to keep women and their babies healthy."  

According to Lindauer, the recently launched Maternal and Child Health MOMS Helpline connects pregnant women to early and regular prenatal care, along with a network of prenatal and child health care services within their local communities and throughout the state. Women in need can visit in.gov/isdh and click on "MOMS Helpline," or call 1-844-MCH-MOMS (1-844-624-6667) for resources.

Ellington said the MOMS Helpline is just one of several tools Indiana offers to support expectant and new mothers. The perinatal navigator pilot program, established in 2019 through a law Ellington supported, connects expectant mothers to prenatal care, and provides referrals for wrap-around services and home-visit programs in Indiana's highest-risk counties. He said more than 12 programs are already operating, including Martin County's which launched in May.

With many Hoosier babies born addicted to drugs, and to help expectant mothers receive referrals to treatment programs early, they can also be screened for substance abuse. Ellington said women are often more motivated to seek addiction help when they become pregnant.

"Illicit drug use has devastating consequences for families, and it's heartbreaking when the victims include innocent babies," Ellington said. "Any opportunities that can connect pregnant women with treatment could help save lives."

Visit in.gov/isdh for more resources and information on Indiana's efforts to support Hoosier moms and babies.

-30-

State Rep. Jeff Ellington (R-Bloomington) represents House District 62, which includes
portions of Greene, Monroe, Martin and Daviess counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Shane Lindauer (R-Jasper) represents House District 63,
which includes portions of Daviess, Dubois, Pike and Martin counties.
Click here to download a high-resolution photo.