U.S. Infant Mortality Rates Fell 15 Percent in Past Decade
First, the good news. The infant mortality rate in the United States has fallen by 15 percent in the past 10 years. The bad news? For a variety of reasons -- high rates of teen pregnancies and obesity, a lack of widespread affordable healthcare, and other factors -- America still has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the developed world.
A report by a team at the National Center for Health Statistics, which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, notes that the biggest decline among the top five leading causes of infant death between 2005 and 2014 was a 29 percent drop in the rate of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. The overall infant mortality rate in the U.S., meanwhile, declined from 6.86 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2005 to 5.82 in 2014.
But the report also noted that, because more than 40 percent of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, expectant mothers may start caring for themselves -- taking prenatal vitamins, getting regular checkups, etc. -- later than they should, which can put the health of both the baby and the mother at risk.
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