Marvelous Girl Has Moved!

Infant mortality high in the U.S.

Posted on: September 10, 2009

infant mortatlity rate highDid you know it’s riskier to have a baby in the U.S. than in Cuba or the Czech Republic?!

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 7 of every 1,000 babies born in the United States will die before their first birthday, and the rates among African American, Hispanic and Native American populations are even higher. Premature births occurring before 37 weeks and low-weight babies (less than 5 pounds) account for the highest number of these deaths.
 
Since September is National Infant Mortality Awareness Month, Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway—a board-certified ob-gyn, an advocate for quality healthcare and patient safety and author of The Smart Mother’s Guide to a Better Pregnancy—offers these SMART tips to help pregnant women improve their chances of having a healthy baby.
 
S =   Seek prenatal care early. Tests for potential chromosome problems, including mental retardation and spina bifida (a condition that causes paralysis) can be conducted only in the first and second trimesters. A first trimester ultrasound is also the most accurate in terms of determining a due date.
 
M =  Mention all risk factors such as a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, Rh negative blood, premature labor, bleeding problems or genetic conditions to your healthcare professional as soon as possible. Do not omit information such as smoking or using “recreational” drugs because such activities can affect your baby.
 
A =   Ask to have your cervix measured during your ultrasound if you have a history of premature contractions or delivery. A cervical length of 2.5 centimeters or less is a risk factor for preterm labor. If you are at risk for delivering before 37 weeks, ask your healthcare provider about receiving steroids to help your baby’s lungs develop.
 
R =  Research your hospital and prospective physician or midwife carefully. Is the physician or midwife skilled in managing high-risk conditions? Will your care continue if you lose your insurance? Has the newborn nursery had any recent outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant infections? Is the hospital a level-three facility?
 
T =   Test for potential problems such as gestational diabetes, sickle cell trait and cystic fibrosis, and check for appropriate fetal growth with an ultrasound.
 
The United States is one of the most industrialized countries in the world, yet The World Factbook indicates that we rank below Cuba, Taiwan, Greece, Ireland, Canada, England, Czech Republic, South Korea and other countries in national infant mortality rate. Being aware of your risk and following these SMART tips will help you to have a healthy baby.

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