Premature Births Linked to Increase in U.S. Infant Mortality Rate

A new data brief was released this week by CDC, National Center for Health Statistics on how the U.S. is faring in premature births and infant mortality.  Sadly, the infant mortality rate has worsened since 2004. According to the report, premature births were the primary cause for the increase in infant mortality.

Here are the key findings from the report:

So what are the experts saying about why the United States may have more premature births?

  • Fertility treatments and other forms of assisted reproduction probably play a role because they often lead to twins, triplets or other multiple births. Those children tend to be delivered early.
  • The U.S. health care system doesn’t guarantees prenatal care to pregnant women, particularly the uninsured (Dr. Alan R. Fleischman, medical director for the March of Dimes).
  • Maternal obesity and smoking have been linked to premature births and may also be a factor.
  • Health officials are also concerned that doctors increasingly are inducing labor or performing C-sections before the 37th week. Dr. Fleischman also indicated in a  statement to the NY Times that most infant deaths do not occur in babies just shy of 37 weeks gestation, but rather in those much younger,

The report also found that while the United States more commonly saw premature births, survival rates for infants at that gestational age were as good or better than most European countries.

Below are  links to a variety of articles on this report:

Premature Births Worsen US Infant Death Rate

Premature Births Are Fueling Higher Rates of Infant M ortality in U.S., Report Says

Click HERE for access to the PDF report

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