Friday, November 6, 2009

US Infant Mortality Ranks High Amongst Developed Nations

In 1960, The US ranked 12th in prevention infant mortality. In 2005, it ranked 30th. So what drove the decline in status?

The US Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently released a study connectiong the USA's relatively high infant mortality rate (considering its status as a "developed nation") to its similarly relatively high premature birth rate. In a review of the study, the Women's Health Policy Report showed pointed out that the US premature birth rate was about twice the premature birth rate of Sweden--12.4 percent to 6.3 percent. The study does show that once born premature, the US does generally better at keeping the babies alive, but that we're not doing a very good job in preventing babies from coming out early.

So why are so many of the births in this country pre-mature and risky?

Because we're not taking care of our low-income pregnant women, who are diproportionately giving birth prematurely. The highest infant mortality rates occurred amongst American Indian, Alaska native, non-hispanic black, and Puerto Rican women. The study noted that the US doesn't guarantee pre-natal care, implying that this plays a role in the high infant mortality rate.

Other reasons the study cited as contributing to the high infant mortality rate were increased occurence of C-sections, increased use of fertility treatments (*cough* Octo-mom *cough* ), drug and alcohol use and illness.

The reasons to show that women need comprehensive health care reform just keep piling up, don't they?

Photo Credit: kqedquest on

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