July 23, 2014

Some progress on infant mortality rates

Progress is being made in slowing the Wisconsin rate of infant mortality but state officials say there is still work to be done. As part of infant mortality awareness month, the Department of Health Services is informing mothers on ways to help their child reach his-or-her first birthday.

Dr. Henry Anderson, the state health officer, warns against smoking while pregnant, promotes breastfeeding, and encourages sharing a room with the baby but not a bed. He suggests pregnant women avoid scheduling an earlier delivery or C-section prior to 39 weeks along unless medically necessary.

In two decades ending in 2010, overall infant mortality rate in Wisconsin declined from 8.0 to 6.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, based on three-year averages, but the gains did not fully extend to minority groups.

Anderson attributes the progress in part to the state partnering with local agencies and groups to provide health care and education to expectant and new mothers.