Work Targets Lagging US Infant Mortality Rate

By Tucker, Charlotte | The Nation's Health, October 2013 | Go to article overview

Work Targets Lagging US Infant Mortality Rate


Tucker, Charlotte, The Nation's Health


IN THE UNITED STATES, for every 1,000 babies born, about six die before they reach age 1. On its face, 0.6 percent is a low number--particularly when compared to countries such as Afghanistan, with its 11 percent infant mortality, or South Sudan, at 7 percent.

But U.S. infant mortality ranks worse than about 30 other nations worldwide and puts the country in the company of less-wealthy, less-industrialized nations such as Cuba and Hungary.

Though the rate of U.S. infant deaths has improved in recent years, dropping 12 percent from 2005 to 2011, public health professionals who work in maternal and child health say there is still a ways to go.

"For us, this is a starting point," said Brent Ewig, MHS, director for public policy and government affairs at the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs. "We've seen a pretty dramatic improvement ... but we can do much better."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the top four causes of infant mortality are low birthweight, congenital malformation, sudden infant death syndrome and maternal complications. Those problems can be linked to a complex group of conditions, including systemic inequality and lack of access to affordable care, researchers say. Programs at the national, state and local level are working to combat the causes, and early indications are that they are starting to work.

In Oklahoma, for example, the state initiated a program aimed at reducing infant mortality about four years ago, said Barbara O'Brien, MS, RN, program director in the Office of Perinatal Quality Improvement at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

One of the state's primary goals was to cut the number of women who were having elective preterm births. Though, traditionally, physicians have considered pregnancies lasting just 37 weeks to be full term, research has shown that babies born at 37 and 38 weeks are not as mature as those born at 39 and 40 weeks, O'Brien told The Nation's Health.

"Babies at 37 and 38 weeks might look like they're mature from the outside, but their insides might not be ready, " she said, citing underdeveloped lungs and brains as the most common problems. Babies born too early can have problems breathing and regulating their temperatures, among many issues, and may be more likely to die.

But some mothers were choosing to have their babies at 37 or 38 weeks for convenience or other reasons, not realizing the danger that decision posed, O'Brien said. Barring medical necessity, research shows that births should not be induced early.

"Our message is to wait--if you're scheduling births--until 39 weeks," she said. "Ultimately, it's best to let labor begin on its own."

Oklahoma partnered with the March of Dimes, which provided funding and educational materials for the Every Week Counts campaign.

The campaign is three-pronged: It works with hospitals to encourage them to put scheduling checks in place so that a woman must have a medical reason to be induced before 39 weeks, it reaches out to patients to educate them on the risks and it uses billboards and public service announcements to create awareness about the risks involved in early elective deliveries.

The program is already showing results. Between the first quarter of 2011 and the second quarter of 2013, early scheduled deliveries were reduced by 81 percent, O'Brien said. Participating hospitals in Oklahoma previously had about eight babies born each day as early elective deliveries, and now that figure is about one baby per day. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Work Targets Lagging US Infant Mortality Rate
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.