US sees drop in infant mortality

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WASHINGTON DC—The infant mortality rate in the United States fell by 12 percent from 2005 to 2011, according to researchers. This is a promising pattern that may be due to a decline in premature births.

The infant mortality rate has been dropping steadily over the 20th century, but it remained static from 2000 to 2005, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. By 2011, however, the rate had dropped to 6.05 deaths of babies younger than a year per 1000 births, down from 6.87 in 2000. Some of the biggest improvements were found in Southern states, who have the highest infant mortality rates in the country.

In Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, and South Carolina, infant mortality has dropped by more than 20%. The District of Columbia saw a drop of 14.05 deaths per 1000 births in 2005 to 7.86 in 2010.

Dr. Marian MacDorman states that one of the leading causes to a reduction of infant mortality is the steady decrease in premature babies. There has also been an emphasis on not allowing mothers to schedule births before 39 weeks without a medical reason. Public education campaigns have been going out around the country warning mothers of the risks.

 “It’s been going on for a few years now,” Dr. MacDorman states, “and I think it has an impact. It’s maybe leading to just a little change in the culture.”

By: Julia Roake

Source: NY Times

Image: Brainrage Blog

18 April 2013

09:30am PDT

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