Better care could cut infant mortality

July 14, 2012 at 1:40 AM
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ATLANTA, July 14 (UPI) -- U.S. infant mortality could be reduced if minority women of childbearing age had better access to healthcare, researchers suggest.

Clark Denny and colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta estimated the prevalence of five risk factors for negative pregnancy outcomes in more than 54,600 women ages 18-44. The study, published in the Journal of Women's Health, found more than half of the women had at least one risk factor and nearly 20 percent of women had two or more risk factors.

Infant mortality rates for non-Hispanic blacks and other minorities are much higher than for non-Hispanic whites, and better preconception healthcare for women is a promising strategy for reducing racial disparities in reproductive health outcomes, Denny said.

This might include reducing behavioral risk factors such as smoking, obesity and excessive drinking. It could also involve greater access to preventive care and preconception and reproductive counseling, Denny said.

In 2005, the United States ranked 30th in the world in infant mortality among developed nations, a CDC report found.

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