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.