"Every baby should have the privilege of being born healthy and wanted"
- Founder Thomas A. Leonard, M.D.

Reducing infant mortality: What We Are Doing

WAPC programs address the five leading causes of infant mortality.

  1. Congenital anomalies: WAPC has a long history promoting primary prevention of such birth defects as:
    • Neural tube defects through periconceptional consumption of folic acid
    • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome by educating providers and consumers that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy
    • Structural malformations and abnormalities attributed to prescription medications, such as isotretinoin.
  2. Prematurity: WAPC promotes birth after 39 weeks gestation and educates providers and the public about the long-term consequences of premature birth. WAPC also works to promote optimal growth and development for babies born prematurely, as well as their care in the neonatal intensive care unit and their transition to home.
  3. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS): SIDS is defined as the sudden death of an infant less than 1 year of age that cannot be explained after a thorough investigation is conducted, including a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history. WAPC supports campaigns and initiatives to minimize the risk of SIDS through safe sleep, serves on fetal and infant mortality review groups, and provides “safe sleep” bassinet cards to birth hospitals.
  4. Maternal complications: Pre-existing conditions as well as those that develop during pregnancy can have a profound impact on the health of the fetus. Some of these conditions include obesity, diabetes, infectious diseases, and genetic conditions. WAPC provides professional continuing education and consumer education on all of these complications.
  5. Injuries: According to the CDC, unintentional suffocation is the leading cause of injury death among children aged less than 1 year of age in the United States. WAPC works to decrease these injuries by participating in safety initiatives, such as “safe to sleep” and consumer educational materials, such as the safe sleep card.


Every mother has a right to a safe and enjoyable pregnancy.
Founder Thomas A. Leonard, M.D.


Every family is entitled to develop to its fullest potential within our evolving society.
Founder Thomas A. Leonard, M.D.

Next: What You Can Do



Did you know?

Folic acid consumption, before pregnancy and during the first few weeks of pregnancy, has been shown to reduce the incidence of children born with neural tube defects by 50-70%.
The U.S. Public Health Service recommends that all women of childbearing age who are capable of becoming pregnant should consume 400mcg (0.4 mg) of folic acid per day for the purpose of reducing their risk of having a pregnancy affected with spina bifida or other neural tube defects (NTDs).  Women who have had a prior NTD-affected pregnancy are at high risk of having subsequent affected pregnancy.  When these women are planning to become pregnant, they should consult their health care providers for advice.