September 25, 2014
A new report conducted on infants in the United Nations indicates that a million infants are dying within 24 hours of birth each year, and usually from birth injuries and problems that could have been prevented.
According to the ‘The 2014 Committing to Child Survival’ report, the mortality rates of newborn infants have increased significantly from prior year, and what’s shocking is that the majority of these deaths could have otherwise been prevented with diligent and careful medical care. The report, which was released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), is a way to monitor the progress in infant survival and a way to hold the government accountable for deaths that didn’t have to happen.
Per the report, the most common reasons infants are dying include:
Birth defects are one of the leading reasons for infant mortality in the UN. In many instances, defects could have been caught early on in the pregnancy, which would have greatly reduced the amount of infant deaths.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), has been linked with an infant’s sleep patterns. Although there isn’t any proven evidence that SIDS occurs because of the way or how a baby sleeps, experts speculate that infants sleeping on their bellies run the risk of choking or having breathing difficulties, and therefore, physicians, should always promote babies sleeping on their backs.
Premature birth is another leading cause of death among newborn infants, not only in the UN, but worldwide. Infants who are born prematurely are at risk for a wide variety of health problems, including:
- Respiratory issues; difficulties with breathing
- Poor growth
- Low APGAR scores
- Brain hemorrhaging
- Intarventricular hemorrhaging
- Infections, and more
According to UNICEF’s deputy executive director, Geeta Rao Gupta, access to quality healthcare and education on caring for infants plays a big role newborn infant survival.
‘”he data clearly demonstrate that an infant’s chances of survival increase dramatically when their mother has sustained access to quality health care during pregnancy and delivery. Special efforts must also be made to ensure that the most vulnerable are reached,” said Gupta.
The leading cause of newborn deaths in the United States is similar to that of the UN. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading reasons for infant mortality in the United States, in 2011, included:
- Congenital malformations
- Deformations and/or chromosomal abnormalities
- Disorders and issues that stem from low birth weight and a short gestation period
Out of every 100,000 live births in the United States, 606.7 infants died. Although there were other causes that led to the outcome, the aforementioned disorders were leading cause of infant mortality. A wealth of information has been promoted recently on SIDS in the United States. In fact, recent studies suggest that infants who sleep on their backs reduce the risk of SIDS by up to 50%. Yet, many babies are still not being placed on their bellies to sleep.
‘Given that supine sleep positioning significantly reduces an infant’s risk for SIDS, it is worrisome that only two-thirds of full-term infants born in the US are being placed back-to-sleep,” said Harvard Medical School pediatric instructor, Sunah Hwang.