JACKSON, MISS– Keeping the excess blankets away and helping women carry their baby to full-term is why the Mississippi Department of Health says the infant death rate across the state is dropping.
MDH says that the infant mortality rate for 2014 was an all-time low of around 8 deaths per 1,000 births. This is an improvement from 2005, when the death rate among infants was around 12 deaths per 1,000 births. The only area not showing an upward trend is infant death among African Americans in the state. The 2014 rate for African American infant death was 11 out of 1,000 births.
“Mississippi continues to have one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the United States,” says State Health Officer Mary Currier, “Thanks in part to special funding provided by the state legislature, Mississippi is doing more than ever to address the issue of infant mortality by working with partners to reduce pre-term births, eliminate tobacco use by and around pregnant women, and prevent sleep-related deaths.”
For the strides that have been made, Mississippi recently received the March of Dimes Virginia Apgar Award for lowering the death rate by 11 percent since 2009. One way this was achieved, Currier says, is by the decline of elective early deliveries, such as induction into labor or c-section before 39 weeks.
“We know that much work must still be done,” but Mississippi has the potential to continue our successful trend,” Currier said. “We continue to work to improve our birth outcomes through outreach, education, and improved access to care.”