The Electric Commentary

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Why Does America Have A High Infant Mortality Rate?

Too much health care:

To reduce infant mortality, then, we need to prevent premature births, and if that fails, improve care of premature babies once born. (Prematurity is also linked to other problems; for example, it's the leading cause of mental retardation and cerebral palsy in children.) But modern medicine isn't good at preventing prematurity—just the opposite. Better and more affordable medical care actually has worsened the rate of prematurity, and likely the rate of infant mortality, by making fertility treatment widespread. According to a 2006 Institute of Medicine report, the numbers of women using assistive reproductive technology doubled from 1996 to 2002. At least half of their pregnancies culminated in multiple births (twins or more), which are at high risk of premature delivery.

Meanwhile, no amount of money or resources seems to reduce the rate of preterm births.


  • Thoughts:

    Any evidence that the U.S. has higher rates of in-vitro than other developed countries?

    Also couldn't better in-vitro result in more single births instead of live births?

    Most developed countries have different race ratios than the U.S. Race is a significant predictor.

    Ten percent of the women in this study had previously delivered premature babies, and 63% were black. "(I)t may not be appropriate to generalize all findings to other populations," the researchers caution.
    "(T)here are several important pathways leading to spontaneous premature birth," Goldenberg's group found. "Black race appears to be linked to this outcome predominantly through bacterial vaginosis and fetal fibronectin.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 5:25 PM  

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