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steven johnson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 10:48 PM
Original message
The truth on infant mortality
Edited on Sun Aug-23-09 11:08 PM by steven johnson
Congenital defects, low birth weight/premature birth, sudden in the infant death syndrome, maternal complications of pregnancy and complications of the umbilical cord, placenta, and membranes are the most common causes of infant mortality in the US. Low birth weight primarily caused by non-healthcare related causes: teen pregnancies, smoking, drug and alsohol abuse and inadequate nutrition during pregnancy.

Increasing healthcare spending will not reverse these factors which contribute to infant mortality.

Critics use infant mortality as a basis for promoting changing our healthcare system. It is not clear those changes will make any difference in infant mortality.

The United States is the richest nation on Earth, but it comes in 29th in the world in survival rates among babies. This mediocre ranking is supposed to make an irrefutable case for health care reform. If we cared enough to insure everyone, we are told, we would soon rise to the health standards of other modern nations.

Like life expectancy (the subject of a previous column), infant mortality is a function of many factors. The more you look at the problem, the less it seems to be correctable by a big new federal role in medical insurance -- and, in fact, the less it seems to be mainly a medical issue at all.

We suffer more obesity (about 10 times as much as the Japanese), and we have more births to teenagers (seven times more than the Swedes). Nearly 40 percent of American babies are born to unwed mothers.

Factors like these are linked to low birth weight in babies, which is a dangerous thing. In a 2007 study for the National Bureau of Economic Research, economists June O'Neill and Dave O'Neill noted that "a multitude of behaviors unrelated to the health care system such as substance abuse, smoking and obesity" are connected "to the low birth weight and preterm births that underlie the infant death syndrome."...Eberstadt concluded that "white America's higher rates of infant mortality are explained not by poverty (as conventionally construed) or by medical care but rather by the habits, actions and indeed lifestyles of a critical portion of its parents.

The truth on infant mortality

Currently in the United States, the greatest risk factors for LWBs include smoking while pregnant, and teen pregnancies. More than 12% of smokers give birth to LBW babies, and LBW is the primary cause of neonatal infant mortality.Also, the U.S. has a higher teen pregnancy rate than almost any other developed country, and 95% of these pregnancies are reported to be accidental.

"...poor pregnancy outcomes in high risk communities were associated with a broad range of factors including underemployment, under-education, and economic priorities; social factors including single parenting and teenage pregnancy; and medical factors which include late utilization and under-utilization of prenatal and postnatal services."

..."...early and continuous prenatal carehelps prevent low birth weight and identify conditions and behavioral factorsthat often cause or aggravate low birth weight, such as smoking, drug and alcohol abuse, inadequate weight gain during pregnancy, and repeat pregnancy insix months or less."

Infant mortality

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PDJane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 10:57 PM
Response to Original message
1. If women could see the doctor when they needed to,
There would be warnings of inadequate nutrition and low birth weight and troubled pregnancies.....believe me, that would help a great deal.
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KT2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 11:06 PM
Response to Original message
2. atrazine also causes low birth weight
our country does not want to prevent illness especially when it comes to chemicals in the environment. At the least, pregnant women need prenatal care and counseling.
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hedgehog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 11:07 PM
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3. Other countries have nurses make home visits once the baby
is born to ensure the parents know how to care for the child and ensure the child is healthy.
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Imperfect World Donating Member (56 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-23-09 11:50 PM
Response to Original message
4. Countries in Europe lie about their infant mortality rates.

First, it's shaky ground to compare U.S. infant mortality with reports from other countries. The United States counts all births as live if they show any sign of life, regardless of prematurity or size. This includes what many other countries report as stillbirths. In Austria and Germany, fetal weight must be at least 500 grams (1 pound) to count as a live birth; in other parts of Europe, such as Switzerland, the fetus must be at least 30 centimeters (12 inches) long. In Belgium and France, births at less than 26 weeks of pregnancy are registered as lifeless. And some countries don't reliably register babies who die within the first 24 hours of birth. Thus, the United States is sure to report higher infant mortality rates. For this very reason, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which collects the European numbers, warns of head-to-head comparisons by country.

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