Thursday, October 16, 2008

Infant Mortality Declines

Last year we wrote about the increase in the infant morality rate in the South. There's some good news today; the infant mortality rate nationwide declined in 2006. The bad news? The rate of 6.71 deaths per 1,000 live births still puts the U.S. at 29th in the world, tied with Poland and Slovakia. The U.S. might be doing better but for a rise in pre-term births, and we are apparently not doing so well regarding the number of women who die in childbirth as well:

Women in the United States have a 1-in-4,800 lifetime risk of dying in labor, according to a 2007 United Nations report—much higher than the 1-in-48,000 rate in top-ranked Ireland. In fact, the United States ranked a dismal 41st out of an analysis of 171 nations, which included underdeveloped countries like Sierra Leone. Even more troubling is that our mortality rate is the highest that it has been in decades, according to the latest report from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Both sets of numbers can be pegged generally to the lack of adequate healthcare for many moms in our country, as well as rise in obesity and a rise in the number of c-sections being conducted (many out of convenience) and rising maternal age. Fixing the problem can only be done by addressing the fundamental inadequacies of health care in our country.

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