Thursday, October 16, 2008

Infant Mortality: U.S. Ranks 29th of 37 Countries

The Centers for Disease Control released new numbers this month on infant mortality rates. You can click here to read the report, but I'll paraphrase what I feel are the key parts.

The U.S. ranks 29th out of 37 countries, with statistics showing that nearly seven babies die out of every 1,000 live births. Each year in the U.S. more than 28,000 babies die before their first birthday. Premature birth is a factor in more than two-thirds of infant deaths. From 2000 to 2005, the U.S. preterm birth rate went up from 11.6% to 12.7%.

"The U.S. infant mortality rate is higher than rates in most other developed countries," note CDC researchers Marian F. MacDorman, PhD, and T.J. Mathews. "The relative position of the United States in comparison to countries with the lowest infant mortality rates appears to be worsening."

I don't post this to scare anyone. I feel it's an important piece of information, and in my opinion emphasizes the need for better education and choices in prenatal and postnatal health care. The U.S. has greatly improved its infant mortality rate since 1960 when there were 26 deaths in every 1,000 live births, and we certainly have modern technology and medicine to thank for those great improvements. What makes me sad is that the United States is apparently not keeping up with other developed countries in improving those rates further.


  1. Wow, those are pretty shocking Stats!

  2. Cherylyn,
    I'm enjoying your blog. I love to talk about childbirth, too. I enjoy going over my experiences and hearing about other's. I think there is room for a lot of improvent in the American childbirth experience but when I read the stats about the infant mortality rate I couldn't help but consider the factors. There are so many unexplored reasons behind infant mortality that the statistic in and of itself isn't a very good indicator of American medical care as it relates to childbirth. The USA also has growing numbers of women who wait until their late 30's 40's or even older to have their first baby, which I'm sure you know makes childbirth more risky for mother and baby. Plus, the number of women seeking infertility treatment has greatly increased the number of multiple births. Noone likes to see that 29th out of 37 countries stat, but there's so many factors to consider that I'd like to do more reaserch.
    Love, your cousin Alicia

  3. Alicia, thank you so much for your input. I agree that there are other factors, and the article I read only mentioned a few. It did mention that ethnic and racial diversities also play a role:

    "In 2005, for every 1,000 live births, the infant mortality rate was:

    * 13.63 among non-Hispanic black Americans
    * 5.76 among non-Hispanic white Americans"

    I'm also curious about the quality of prenatal health care and the health of the mother, and how big a role that plays in infant mortality as well.