Health

America Has Highest Rate of First-Day Infant Mortality in Industrialized World

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According to a recent report, the United States is one of the most dangerous countries in the industrialized world for newborns, as there are a high number of premature births and babies born to teens.

The report was part of the 14th annual study by "Save the Children," a group that aims to increase awareness of the needs of children and mothers.

It showed that about three of every 1,000 babies born in America die on the day of their birth. This is the highest first-day death rate out of all industrialized countries and is even worse than some developing nations, like Cuba, Egypt and Mexico.

"When first-day deaths in the United States are compared to those in the 27 countries making up the European Union, the findings show that European Union countries, taken together, have 1 million more births each year (4.3 million vs. 5.3 million, respectively), but only about half as many first-day deaths as the United State (11,300 in the U.S. vs. 5,800 in EU member countries)," the report says.

The lowest first-day mortality rates in the world were in Cyprus, Estonia, Iceland, Luxembourg, Singapore and Sweden. Only one baby per 2,000 died on the day of birth.

Experts believe America has a high infant mortality rate because about one in eight babies are born too early. 

Worldwide, premature births are the leading cause of infant deaths. 

Another reason there may be many infant deaths is because the U.S. has the highest rate of teen mothers than any industrialized country.

"Teenage mothers in the U.S. tend to be poorer, less educated and receive less prenatal care than older mothers," the report said. "Because of these challenges, babies born to teen mothers are more likely to be low-birthweight and be born prematurely and to die in their first month," the report said. "They are also more likely to suffer chronic medical conditions, do poorly in school and give birth during their teen years (continuing the cycle of teen pregnancy)."

Lowering infant deaths in the country could involve investing in education, healthcare and sexual health awareness for teens.

The report also suggests "family planning," with some form of birth control, as half of all births in America are unplanned.

Sources: Daily Mail, Think Progress