Infant Mortality in Usa

Topics: Pregnancy, Infant mortality, Childbirth Pages: 15 (4785 words) Published: December 6, 2012
Why is the Infant Mortality rate high in the USA?

According to CIA World Fact book, infant mortality is defined as follows: "This entry gives the number of deaths of infants under one year old in a given year per 1,000 live births in the same year; included is the total death rate, and deaths by sex, male and female." Total: 6.06 deaths/1,000 live births

Country comparison to the world: 176
Male: 6.72 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 5.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 EST.) (Central Intelligence Agency CIA, 2011) (

Infant mortality is an important indicator of the health of a nation, as it is associated with a variety of factors such as maternal health, quality and access to medical care, socioeconomic conditions, and public health practices.8 Over 70 percent of under-five deaths occur within the first year of life. The proportion of under-five deaths that occur within the first month of life (the neonatal period) has increased about 10 percent since 1990 to more than 40 percent. (Levels and trends in child mortality report 2011,

The United States spends more money on health care per person than any other country. Yet an American baby is less likely to reach its first birthday than a baby born in 21 other nations.14 The world’s most costly system of healthcare provides the least secure access of any developed nation. Fabulous tertiary care hospitals exist in blighted urban environments whose residents lack reliable access to basic health services.13

The 10 leading causes of infant mortality for 2009 were 15:

1. Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities

2. Disorders related to short gestation and low birth weight, not elsewhere classified

3. Sudden infant death syndrome

4. Newborn affected by maternal complications of pregnancy

5. Accidents (unintentional injuries)

6. Newborn affected by complications of placenta, cord and membranes

7. Bacterial sepsis of newborn

8. Respiratory distress of newborn

9. Diseases of the circulatory system

10. Neonatal hemorrhage

Infant mortality is understood as the product of two major chains of events that begin with: • A sequence of socioeconomic and biological forces on the mother’s health that influence the outcome of her pregnancy. • The adverse outcome of this sequence of events is usually the delivery of a premature, low birth weight or sick neonate. The second component of infant mortality is:

• The likelihood that the infant will survive given their health status at birth. (This latter component often reflects the medical care provided to high-risk pregnant women and their small, sick neonates.)

Maternal risk factors that contribute to poor pregnancy outcomes: Maternal Age- Pregnancies occurring to women under the age of 18 or even 20 years old and over the age of 34 years old are considered to be high-risk pregnancies. Infants born to such women tend to have a higher incidence of low birth weight and remain at a higher risk of dying before their first birthday, as compared to infants born to mothers 20-34 years of age (IOM, 1985; Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health, 1986)9 Despite the widely observed higher risk for poor pregnancy outcomes among adolescent females and the attribution by some medical authorities of such risk to biological conditions, there is growing evidence that young age, particularly above 15 years, does not constitute an independent risk factor for poor pregnancy outcomes(Baldwin & Cain, 1980; Lee, Ferguson, Corpuz & Gartner, 1988). Biological and socioeconomic factors as well as life-styles converge and potentiate the risk associated with young...
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