Stutzman, Nisly: New resources available to support Hoosier moms, newborns

Posted by: Allison Vanatsky  | Friday, July 24, 2020

STATEHOUSE (July 24, 2020) – To help lower Indiana's high maternal and infant mortality rates, State Reps. Christy Stutzman (R-Middlebury) and Curt Nisly (R-Milford) say 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. Stutzman said engaging more at-risk expectant mothers in early prenatal care is key to lowering these numbers.   

"Addressing Indiana's high infant and maternal mortality rate takes support from all levels," Stutzman said. "Appropriate care and treatment is needed early and throughout pregnancy in order to address issues as they come up. Connecting women to these services as soon as a woman knows she is pregnant can save lives and improve outcomes."

According to Stutzman, 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.

Nisly 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 Nisly and Stutzman 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 10 programs are already operating statewide.

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. Nisly said women are often more motivated to seek addiction help when they become pregnant.

"When a pregnant mother struggles with substance abuse, their baby needs all the support they can get," Nisly said. "I am committed to fighting for better, healthier lives for all children, and that's why I want to help spread the word about these resources – maybe we can save lives."

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

-30-

State Rep. Curt Nisly (R-Milford) represents House District 22, which includes portions of Kosciusko and Elkhart counties.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.

State Rep. Christy Stutzman (R-Middlebury) represents House District 49, which includes the eastern portion of Elkhart County.

Click here to download a high-resolution photo.