A good start

Ottawa County is the fourth best in the state for maternal and infant well-being, according to a new report.
Krystle Wagner
May 10, 2013

The Michigan League for Public Policy’s latest Kids Count in Michigan report rates 54 Great Start Collaboratives in the state based on nonmarital births, pre-term births and low birthweight babies.

Livingston County topped the list, with Wayne and Genesee counties tying for last place. Muskegon ranked 48th out of Michigan's 83 counties.

Michigan ranked 31st out of the 50 states when compared on low birthweights, pre-term births, births to married women, births to teens and births to teens already moms.

Statewide, the number of unmarried women giving birth rose from 36 percent of all births in 2005 to 42 percent in 2011. The number of unmarried mothers in Ottawa County rose from 20.6 percent to 24.9 percent in the same time period.

In Ottawa County, 32.7 percent of the babies born in 2011 were to uninsured low-income women.

Veronica Pechumer, the Great Start Collaborative coordinator for Ottawa County, took special note of the number of births to uninsured women. She said most of the mothers insured by Medicaid lose their benefits 60 days after giving birth, even though many women are still breastfeeding and their bodies need up to a year to recover from birth.

“That can really impact the children if mom cannot get the care she needs to stay healthy herself,” Pechumer said.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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