State Health Improvement Plan (SHIP) 2021-2025
MATERNAL AND INFANT HEALTH
Keeping infants healthy starts with making sure women get high-quality care during pregnancy and improving women’s health in general. After birth, strategies that focus on increasing breastfeeding rates and promoting vaccinations and developmental screenings are key to improving infants’ health. Interventions that encourage safe sleep practices and correct use of car seats can also help keep infants safe.
Improving the well-being of mothers, infants, and children is an important public health goal. Their well-being determines the health of the next generation and can help predict future public health challenges for families, communities, and the health care system (- Healthy People 2030).
The ADH’s partners will develop and implement strategies to reduce risks related to infant/maternal mortalities and the disparities by race/ethnicity in Arkansas.
Infant mortality is a way of looking at the number of babies who die each year before they reach their first birthday. It is usually defined as the number of babies who die out of every 1,000 babies who are born alive. Infant mortality can be divided into neonatal mortality and post-neonatal mortality. When a newborn baby dies less than 28 days after they are born, it is called neonatal mortality. When babies who are older than 27 days but younger than one year die, it is called post-neonatal mortality. Neonatal and post-neonatal mortality often have different causes, so it can be helpful to look at them one by one.
Why is infant mortality a public health problem?
The death of a baby is a tragedy for any family. High infant mortality also means that there are public health problems in the community that need to be addressed. So, it is important to see what problems cause a high infant mortality rate in a community so that people and organizations can work together to solve those problems and protect the health of the next generation.
How big is the problem of infant mortality?
In 2017, 304 babies died in Arkansas before their first birthdays. The infant mortality rate for that year was 8.1 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to the national infant mortality rate for the same year which was 5.8. Arkansas’s neonatal mortality rate was 4.6 per 1,000 live births. This was close to the United States neonatal mortality rate, which was 3.9. Arkansas’s post-neonatal mortality rate was 3.5 per 1,000 live births. This was much higher than the United States' post-neonatal mortality rate, which was 1.9.
The two most common causes of neonatal mortality are birth defects and prematurity.
Some of the top causes of post-neonatal death:
Women in the United States are more likely to die from childbirth than women living in other developed countries.1 Healthy People 2030 focuses on preventing pregnancy complications and maternal deaths and helping women stay healthy before, during, and after pregnancy.
Some women have health problems that start during pregnancy, and others have health problems before they get pregnant that could lead to complications during pregnancy. Strategies to help women adopt healthy habits and get health care before and during pregnancy can help prevent pregnancy complications. In addition, interventions to prevent unintended pregnancies can help reduce negative outcomes for women and infants.
Women’s health before, during, and after pregnancy can have a major impact on infants’ health and well-being. Women who get recommended health care services before they get pregnant are more likely to be healthy during pregnancy and to have healthy babies. Strategies to help pregnant women get medical care and avoid risky behaviors like smoking or drinking alcohol can also improve health outcomes for infants.
Source: Healthy People 2030