The death of an infant is devastating; it’s a life that was cut far too short. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that .6% of infants don’t make it to their first birthday (6 out of every 1,000). The CDC monitors infant mortality rates to help depict the health and well-being of our nation.
In their most recent National Vital Statistics Report, the CDC compared live birth certificates from each state and linked them with death certificates for infants under the age of 1.
In addition to calculating the current national infant mortality rate, the CDC also looked into other factors including the cause of death, race, access to healthcare, and gestation period to understand more about infant mortality rates in the U.S.
Louisiana has the 2nd highest infant mortality rate in the U.S.
Louisiana ranks second among all states for the highest infant mortality rate. While District of Columbia reported the highest infant mortality rates, the states with the highest rates include: Mississippi (11.46), Louisiana (9.85), Alabama (9.53), South Carolina (9.49), North Carolina (8.81), Tennessee (8.77), Ohio (8.17), West Virginia (8.16), and Georgia (8.07).
The chart below highlights the CDC’s findings, including the infant mortality rate by state, and the actual number of infant deaths by state.
|State||Infant Mortality Rate per 1,000 Live Births||Number of Infant Deaths in 2013|
|District of Columbia||13.67||62|
*Data sourced from National Vital Statistics Report, Vol 64, No.9, August 6, 2015
Infant Mortality Rates Differ by Race
The CDC notes significant differences in infant mortality by race or ethnicity. For example, the mortality rate of black infants is more than twice that of white non-Hispanic infants.
According to information from 2010 census data, states with the highest African American population currently include District of Columbia (50.08%), Mississippi (37.30%), Louisiana (32.4%), Georgia (31.4%), Maryland (30.1%), South Carolina (28.48%), Alabama (26.38%), North Carolina (21.60%), Delaware (20.95%), and Virginia (19.91%).
Seven of ten states with the highest African America populations also have the highest infant birth mortality rates.
Cause and Effect
The leading cause of infant death in the U.S. in 2013 was Congenital malformations, which are physical defects involving several parts of the body including the brain, heart, lungs, liver, bones, and intestinal tract. Congenital malformations accounted for 20% of all infant deaths that year.
Congenital malformations can be genetic, but can also be caused by environmental factors including alcohol and substance abuse. However, some disorders can be detected before birth through prenatal diagnosis screenings.
The second leading cause of infant death relates to short gestation period and low birth weight, followed by maternal complications.
Maternal complications, in particular, can often be avoided with proper prenatal care and regular health checkups. Discussing pre-existing medical conditions with a doctor before pregnancy, as well symptoms or conditions that occur during pregnancy can help reduce the likelihood of maternal complications and infant death.
Louisiana at a Glance
In Louisiana, the mortality rate among black children is consistent with the national findings and is twice that of white, Asian, or Hispanics infants.
More specifically, the age and socioeconomic status of the mother can be correlated to high infant mortality rates. For example, mothers aged 15 to 19 in Louisiana are more likely than mothers aged 35 to 39 to suffer a loss.
While some infant deaths can’t be avoided, there are plenty of infant fatalities that can. Here in Louisiana, the Monroe Law Office of J. Antonio Tramontana may be able to help families suffering the loss of an infant by assessing whether the care and treatment of the mother and child were properly attended to during pregnancy and delivery.
For a free case review, please fill out the form to the right, or call me directly at (888) 982-1290.