Alabama’s Infant Mortality Rate for Black and White Newborns Jumps to 7.6 in 2021!
The Alabama Department of Health and Human Services revealed infant mortality data for 2021 this week. It’s up slightly from last year. 7.6 deaths per 1,000 live births is 8.6% higher than in 2020.
Carolyn Miller, director of ADPH’s Perinatal Division, is delighted the rate hasn’t risen further. ADPH is worried about the report’s racial inequities, she says. She said black newborns die twice as often as white ones. “Infant mortality doubled.” The rate rose from 10.9 to 12.2. Miller claims societal determinants cause the state’s high newborn death rate.
Miller: “People need attention, especially before prenatal care.” Women have hypertension, diabetes, and obesity before pregnancy. Miller says expanding healthcare access can reduce infant mortality. 38 counties lack reproductive health hospitals, she says.
Dr. Scott Harris, state health officer, stated race, poverty, and education affect infant mortality. Alabama must promote evidence-based initiatives such as home visiting nurses for first-time moms and high-risk pregnancies, safe sleep education, and the ‘Count the Kicks’ campaign to prevent infant fatalities.
Other 2021 Birth and Pregnancy Trends:
- Low-weight births declined from 10.8 to 10.5, while births at less than 37 weeks and birth intervals fewer than 2 years increased in 2021.
- No-prenatal-care births fell from 2.6% to 2.2%. 52.5% of deliveries without prenatal care were to white moms, 52.4% to 20-29-year-old mothers, and 74.75% were funded by Medicaid.
- The percentage of births to Black teen moms grew from 8.3 to 8.5 in 2021.
- The lowest maternal smoking rate was 6.1% in 2021.