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November 2014

Influenza Update

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) are recommending that all persons (>6 months of age) be vaccinated during the 2014-2015 season (Universal Vaccination). Please advocate that pregnant women receive the influenza vaccine. For more information go to:

Pregnant Women and the Flu Vaccine - Fact Sheet

CDC Guidelines for Vaccinations During Pregnancy Chart

SCDHEC Influenza Resources   

USC School of Medicine 2014-2015 Flu Guidelines


October 2014

DHEC stresses sleep safety to reduce infant deaths

Columbia, S.C - New data released today by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) shows a significant reduction in South Carolina's infant mortality rate.

An analysis of the agency's 2013 data shows that between 2005 and 2013, the state's infant mortality rate dropped by over 25 percent, from 9.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005 to 6.9 in 2013.

"This is the first time in recorded history that South Carolina's infant mortality rate has been this low," said DHEC Director Catherine Templeton. "While there are plenty of things in this world that we cannot control, DHEC and its partners have been addressing those things that are avoidable to save the lives of babies."

To reduce the number of infant deaths and continue to close the gap in disparities, DHEC is partnering with organizations across the state to focus on long and short-term initiatives. This includes supporting prenatal programs, safe sleep efforts, and improving health between pregnancies.

Another sharp decline in infant deaths was in areas related to safe sleep practices. According to 2013 data, there was a 41% drop in accidental sleep-related deaths. In addition, deaths due to accidental suffocation in bed declined from 39 in 2012 to 23 in 2013.

"Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and sleep-related accidents are among the leading causes of infant mortality in South Carolina," said Sue Williams, chief executive officer of Children's Trust of South Carolina. "This data suggests our ongoing safe sleep education efforts are making a difference Collaborating with our partners at DHEC and our Safe Sleep Coalition, Children's Trust has developed a new training curriculum to further share safe sleep best practices. We will continue to identify at-risk populations and areas in South Carolina with the highest numbers of sleep-related deaths and provide education and services to those communities."

To reduce the risk of infant death, South Carolinians are encouraged to take the following preventive measures:

  • Remember the ABCs: leave your baby Alone on their Back in their Crib without blankets, pillows or bumper pads.
  • Get healthy before you get pregnant:
    • Quit smoking - Pregnant women can call our Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free help.
    • Get chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension under control. 

Click here for more information on recommended infant safe sleep practices.

(**This article was reproduced from the SCDHEC website in its entirety***)


Recommendation for Pulse Oximetry Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Disease

Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has given the full endorsement of the Secretary of Health and Human Services stating that critical congenital heart diseases should be screened via pulse oximetry during the newborn assessment. The AAP has published strategies for the implementation of pulse oximetry screening. For more information on these strategies you may visit: http://www.aap.orgClick here to view the full article by the AAP


June 2013

Emerson Rose Act

The Emerson Rose Act was introduced to legislation in South Carolina April, 2013. The bill would:


The bill can be viewed at: 


December 2012

South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative

South Carolina Birth Outcomes Initiative (BOI) is an effort by the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS) and its partners to improve the health of newborns in the Medicaid program. Launched in July 2011, the BOI is focused on achieving five key goals:

1. Elimination of Non-Medically Necessary Deliveries Less than 39 Weeks Gestation

2. Reduction in the Length of Stay for Infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

3. Target Health Disparities for Minority Women

4. Access to Affordable Progesterone Treatments that Can Help Reduce Preterm Births

5. Implement a Screening Tool to Assess for Substance Abuse, Depression and Domestic Violence Among Pregnant Women

Forty-Two hospitals in South Carolina that deliver babies have signed a pledge to end the practice of elective deliveries prior to 39 weeks for Medicaid participants. Early elective deliveries, including cesarean sections prior to 39 weeks account for approximately 13% of all South Carolina births. SCDHHS and BlueCross BlueShield of South Caolrina have announced that they will no longer provide coverage for deliveries that occur due to non-medical reasons starting January 1, 2013. SCDHHS and BlueCross account for 85% of all births in the state.  

Medical Indications for Delivery Less Than 39 Weeks


BOI Modifier Flow Diagram

For more information, or to access BOI archived webinars, visit:


National Perinatal Association Late Preterm Infant Guidelines

The National Perinatal Association has partnered with several organizations to create a multidisciplinary guideline for the care of the late preterm infant. "These guidelines give health care providers and others a road map that focuses attention on the unique needs of late preterm infants from birth through early childhood, helping to ensure potential health risks aren't overlooked" ( Click here to view or download the Late Preterm Infant Guidelines.

For more information visit:


October 2012

Text 4 Baby

The United States (US) has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the industrialized world. Each year in the US, 1 in 8 babies are born prematurely and 28,000 die before their first birthday. In an effort to promote maternal and child health in the US, a free mobile information service was developed. This service provides pregnant women and new moms information to help them care for themselves and give their babies the best possible start in life. 

Text 4 Baby has a diverse partnership with agencies such as: Voxiva; Healthy Mothers/Healthy Babies; CTIA: the Department of Health and Human Services and Johnson and Johnson just to name a few. Participating mobile partners have agreed to deliver Text 4 Baby to their subscribers at no cost. Here's how it works:

  • Users register via text or website: Text "BABY" or "BEBE" to 511411
  • Users give their zip code and due date/DOB
  • If a woman is pregnant, she will receive a starter pack of 6 key messages over a 2 week time period
  • Users will receive free health messages 3 times/week
  • Messages will end on the baby's first birthday, or if the user text "STOP"

The text messages have been created utilizing an expert review process. They are relevant on critical issues and alert users to time sensitive information. South Carolina now has a Test 4 Baby Coalition overseen by SCDHEC that will allow organizations to work together and increase the state's potential for success with raising awareness about Maternal Child Health issues. To become a partner at no cost to your organization, visit: