Moms In Mississippi Have Highest Risk of Babies Dying Before 1st Birthday

Stats 43

baby handIt's shocking to know that for every 1,000 babies born in Mississippi, 9.4 died before their first birthday in 2011. As a whole, the United States has 6 infant deaths per 1,000 births. Missisippi's high rates of infant mortality puts them with Costa Rica (9.2), Sri Lanka (9.5), and Botswana (10.5). Which is why it's even more troubling. What is going on in Mississippi to make it the most risky place to have a baby? It makes me want to scoop up all the pregnant women and move them elsewhere.

Experts say it's not the state, it's the women who live there. But I'm still suspect. Is there something in the water or the soil down there? Louisiana and Alabama -- the two states on either side of Mississippi -- also have high rates of children dying within the first 12 months. Researchers have their suspicions of reasons why this is happening, but there are women who don't fit their description who have lost children and they don't know why.

In Mississippi, premature birth is far too common. But why are so many women there having babies too soon? Doctors think it may be the high amount of overweight and obese women having babies and that puts the child's health at risk. Mississippi leads the US in obesity.

But there are women who aren't overweight who have premature babies.

The leading cause of infant death is birth defects and while not all are preventable, the risk can be reduced by being healthy -- no smoking, drinking, or using drugs.

There are women who are the picture of health who have babies who die.

Other factors that some believe could play into why so many babies in Mississippi die are the high rate of teen birth, which goes hand in hand with prematurity, as well as poverty. Mississippi has the highest rate of teen pregnancies and people living below the poverty line. Uninsured women may not get necessary prenatal care, particularly when it was very needed. 

It's also believed that race plays a role. The CDC reports that African-American women are 50 percent more likely to have a preemie. Forty percent of infants in Mississippi are born to African-American women, which could bring up the mortality rate. 

I still can't help but wonder why. Why would race, age, and income affect some babies and not all? Is that really the reason? There are far more questions than answers here, but more needs to be done to help the families in Mississippi, which could then help us find more answers to bring the infant mortality rates down all over America.

What do you think of these findings?


Image via Weird Beard/Flickr

baby first year, baby health


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Pinkmani Pinkmani

It's lack of access to health care. If you don't have much income you probably don't aren't taking prenatal vitamins or eating healthy foods because junk food is cheaper. I think your weight (whether you're underweight, overweight, or obese) plays a HUGE role in fertility and your ability to carry a child to full-term.

Laurlev Laurlev

It's because Mississippi is anti-choice, anti-sex education which leads to higher rates unwanted pregnancy. This leads to more unwanted children which are more likely to be raised in poverty. People in poverty have less access to healthy food and proper prenatal care. Kids in poverty are less likely to get the proper medical care they need to thrive. It's a vicious cycle perpetuated by ultra religious conservatives that only want to teach women to "keep their legs shut."

bills... billsfan1104

Lmao at Laurlev. Pro-abortion people make me laugh. I knew that a pro-abort would come in here and blame conservatives.

Sirena Robinson

I don't think she's necessarily pro abortion as much as she is pro comprehensive sex education. In my opinion, if you're going to retrict access to abortion, which I am in favor of, you have to balance it out with good sex ed. Teach kids to be safe, how to be safe, and what their options are for birth control. If they don't know how to protect themselves, we can't blame them when they get pregnant.

As far as Mississippi, I would honestly wonder about the climate. Those Southern states are brutal during the summer, and babies dying from being left in cars, out in the sun too long, etc, could explain the increase, at least in part. And if you do have a state that induces early a large portion of the time, that explains part of it right there. 39 weeks is the EARLIEST a woman should be induced, and not at all is preferable. And this is from a woman who had an EMERGENCY induction at 36 weeks.

bills... billsfan1104

Yayheadstart, no I am not going to shut up. Sucks doesnt it?

bills... billsfan1104

Sirena, how much more sex education do people need? There is a lot of it out there. I think we agree that we need sex education, but it has to be balanced with abstinence education and also teaching our boy and girls to respect themselves. Our kids nowadays have no respect for anyone, let alone themselves. Teach girls how their bodies work and also that their bodies are a temple that should be respected.

bills... billsfan1104

I am sick and tired of people thinking that conservatives are against sex education. They are not. I think they want both side presented to our kids.

bills... billsfan1104

Yayheadstart, thats on you then. I cant control your idiotic thoughts. How am I a terrible person? How do you know me and what I do beyond this site?

yayhe... yayheadstart

i mean, seriously, do you even have a job? you comment on every article i have ever read on this site! and it's all mean and judgemental. why? are you really that angry? are you really that bored?

Bloom... Bloomie79

Well billsfan1104 lack of access to preventative health care, birth control, sex education, and yes even the choice to terminate an unwanted pregnancy are an indisputable player in this issue. All of those things are deeply imbedded in the republican/conservative agenda. Conservatives happily shout about keeping your legs shut as the only nessasary form of birth control or sex education. Either own the outcome or change the position, you can't have it both ways.

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