Infant Mortality


The United States gets hammered on its global infant mortality rating.  Liberals never tire of pointing out that the United States rates no higher than 29th compared to other nations.

And as we continue to debate health care in this country, this number continues to have relevance; at least to the uninformed.

I have continued to argue that while this statistic is important, it doesn’t reflect medical care delivery in the United States.  That there are factors besides our health care system that contribute to the high infant mortality rate we see here.

Look.  The fact that so many babies are perishing is heart wrenching.  We are seeing the treasure of our future passing before us as we watch.  It’s devastating and, perhaps, preventable.  But the steps to that prevention don’t lie in health insurance.  They lie somewhere else:

Why preterm births are more common here isn’t so clear, but experts point to a few likely factors. Preterm births are more likely in women with other health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

Older mothers and young teen mothers also face higher risks.The U.S. has higher rates of women in these groups getting pregnant, co-author of the report, Marian MacDorman from the National Center for Health Statistics, tells NPR’s Brenda Wilson. And in the U.S., minority women also face much higher rates of preterm births than white women.

Babies are dying not because we can’t give babies goo medical care, but because our mothers aren’t taking care of themselves.  These babies are being born early due to preventable or treatable causes that have nothing to do with the ability to handle medical care.

But, on that issue, does medical care have a role?

Another possible culprit is the type of medical care women are receiving.

Oh no, here we go:

Many American doctors induce an early labor or schedule a cesarean section before that 37 week mark. In 2006, labor was induced in nearly 16 percent of preterm births and 36 percent were C-section deliveries.

Oh.  I see.  It’s not that they’re receiving too little care it’s that they’re receiving too MUCH care.

We have issues to deal with.  Clearly.  We have children having children.  We have single mothers having children.  We have people making poor life decisions.

But this health reform Obama has……?  That’s not a fix for that.

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2 comments
  1. Alan Scott said:

    Could our large immigrant population also affect infant mortality figures ?

    • pino said:

      Could our large immigrant population also affect infant mortality figures ?

      Certainly. However, the mortality rate tracks with nation of origin.

      That is, Japanese-American mothers experience the same infant mortality rate as Japanese mothers. Same with Mexican-American mothers and Mexican mothers.

      Fascinating.

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