Listen Live

INDIANAPOLIS– A quick five-question survey could help more Hoosier babies celebrate their first birthdays. That’s Governor Holcomb’s theory for asking legislators to make that survey automatic for pregnant women.

Holcomb says Indiana would be the first state to have doctors ask their pregnant patients if they’ve used drugs or alcohol recently, if they have a history of substance abuse, and if their parents, partners or friends have had drug problems. The goal is to identify pregnant women with drug issues early and get them into treatment.

An Indiana State Department of Health spot check of umbilical cords at 28 Hoosier hospitals found two out of five tested positive for drugs, and one in 16 of those babies were born with drug withdrawal symptoms.

The Centers for Disease Control say Indiana’s infant mortality rate is the seventh-worst in the U.S., and the second-worst outside the Deep South. The state has set a goal of making it the best in the Midwest within six years.

One in 135 babies born in Indiana doesn’t survive the first year.

(Photo: China Photos/Getty Images)