Infant mortality refers to an infant’s death before it’s a year old. Generally, heavier babies are likely to survive infant mortality compared to underweight babies or triplets and twins.
Infant deaths could be for the following reasons:
- Premature delivery (between 22-37 weeks, instead of 37-41 weeks)
- Pre-birth defects
- Closely spaced births
- Maternal complications
- Mistimed or late pregnancy detection
- Improper prenatal care
- Poor or inappropriate baby weight
- Baby illness (such as pneumonia, birth asphyxia, malaria, and measles)
- Injury post birth
- Accidents (motor vehicle accidents, poisoning, drowning, etc.)
- Unhygienic living conditions
- Poor post-birth baby care
Infant mortalities are positively correlated to poverty – poor sanitation, clean water scarcity, malnutrition, non-existent or poor basic healthcare facilities, endemic functions, low spending levels, etc. In other words, the lower the per capita income of a country, the higher is the mortality. Therefore, poorer countries have higher infant mortality cases compared to economically stable and self-reliant nations. In developed nations, such as the United States, infant mortalities are primarily due to preterm births.
Pre-birth issues could be related to the pregnant mother’s health and nutrition, age, lifestyle (alcoholism, smoking, inadequate sleep), ethnicity, race, etc. For instance, mothers who are too young or well past their prime childbearing age present higher risks of death to their infants. Generally, for most babies, the initial few weeks of stay on Earth is a high-risk period.
Reducing Infant Mortality
To reduce possibilities of infant mortality, aspiring or expecting mothers are advised to take good care of their health and keep up with required nourishment. They must cure or take appropriate actions against any health concerns before getting pregnant. Also adopting a safer lifestyle during pregnancy is a must.
Mothers who are prone or likely to deliver sick or underweight babies must resort to special hospitals (level 3 hospitals) for delivery. Compared to regular hospitals, these hospitals are better equipped in terms of medical services and infrastructure.