BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - It was a huge turnout for this year’s Babypalooza, a one-stop-shop to connect new and expecting parents to local resources.
Ivory Carey is just a few months away from welcoming her little bundle of joy into the world, and she couldn't be more excited.
“On a scale of one to ten, I’m probably like a hundred. Definitely, definitely excited. This is our first baby, so we’re definitely excited," she said.
Like any first-time mom-to-be, she has questions and concerns. That’s why she attended Saturday’s Babypalooza at the Biloxi Civic Center, a maternity and baby expo.
“All of this information is really good because, for a first-time parent, I want to know everything I possibly can about having a child, because anything can happen," Carey said.
The event featured dozens of vendors sharing information and resources that can be key in keeping moms and their babies healthy.
“Educating everybody on what does it mean to be healthy, what does it mean to live a healthy lifestyle and reduce health risks. And we just really want to get that information out there, and educate as many people as possible," said Joanna Dixon, health and wellness programs team lead at Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Statistics from the Mississippi State Department of Health show for every one thousand babies born in the state, around nine of them don’t make it to their first birthday.
“Mississippi has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates. Hard to say, but most of them are preventable with education. So it’s very important that moms and every caretaker of those children get this education because it basically, it’s going to save lives," said Cecilia Pearson, executive director for Babypalooza.
Cheryl Doyle, a nurse with the health department, said education has helped in lowering South Mississippi’s infant mortality rate.
“Educating on smoking cessation, education on infant safe sleep, educating on early prenatal care, educating on pre-conception care to get our moms healthy before they get pregnant," Doyle said.
It’s all about making sure mothers and fathers have the information they need to navigate parenthood.
“It’s all these resources that I can go back and I can refer myself back to when I start struggling or anything like that,” Carey said.
Those who didn’t attend this year’s Babypalooza or who want more information can check out the event’s app. It’s free and available in the Google Play or Apple app store.