Maternal and Infant Mortality Rates in the US Are a Tragic Embarrassment

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October 05, 2016 | 36,576 views

Story at-a-glance

  • Maternal and infant mortality rates in the U.S. are an embarrassment considering the high cost of healthcare and the quality of intensive medical care available
  • Rates of mortality may be closely related to the rising obesity epidemic that fuels other chronic health conditions responsible for maternal death and preterm birth
  • Vaccinations during pregnancy are a recommendation that may be increasing your child’s risk of preterm birth, low birth weight and neurological consequences

By Dr. Mercola

Global rates for maternal mortality have fallen by close to one-half, except in the U.S., where the number of women who die related to their pregnancy has significantly increased.1

In a similar fashion, infant mortality rates are higher than any of the other 27 wealthy countries reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).2

Cost for medical care in the U.S. is the highest in the world. Unfortunately, high medical expenditures do not translate into better outcomes for mothers and infants. In fact, the number of infant deaths in the U.S. for every 1,000 live births is higher than in Bosnia, Slovenia, Cuba and Belarus.3

According to data released from the Institute of Health Metrics, there are 28 maternal deaths for every 100,000 births in the U.S.4 This number is a drastic 22 percent increase, up from 23 deaths in 2003.5,6 Compared to 1990, the maternal death rate in the U.S. has more than DOUBLED.7

Why Are so Many New Mothers Dying?

This 15-minute video explains what's in the vaccines being given to our children, why some vaccines are given simultaneously and how you can report an adverse side effect. 

Natural infections trigger an inflammatory response in the mother's body, which in turn trigger potential neurological and immunological deficits in the unborn child and increase the risk for low birth weight or preterm birth. Low birth weight not only increases your child's risk of mortality in the first year, but has also been associated with a number of different health conditions in later life.

According to the March of Dimes, babies born weighing less than 5 pounds 8 ounces are at higher risk for metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity.40 Unfortunately, the March of Dimes also reports that 1 of every 12 babies born in the U.S. have low birth weight.

Before routinely accepting the CDC recommendations for vaccination during pregnancy,41,42  it is important to understand the risks to yourself and your unborn child. Researchers found the number of childhood immunizations given in the first year of life had predictive value on infant mortality rates. A higher number of childhood immunizations given resulted in higher rates of infant mortality.43

The U.S. vaccination schedule specifies 26 doses of vaccination before age 1, the most of any other country. Using linear regression, scientists compared results from 34 countries and found those countries with the lower number of vaccines given also had the lowest rates of infant mortality.44 Of the 34 countries, 33 had lower infant mortality rates than the U.S.

There are steps you can take before you become pregnant, during your pregnancy and after your child is born to optimize your health and the health of your baby. Steps are outlined in my previous two articles, "No-Nonsense Guide to a Naturally Healthy Pregnancy" and "Top Foods to Eat When You're Pregnant."

Vitamin D is particularly important for infant and maternal health. Having a vitamin D level of at least 40 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml) has been shown to reduce the risk of premature birth by 50 percent. For a refresher, please see my previous article, "New Campaign Aims to Resolve Vitamin D Deficiency Among Pregnant Women and Children."

[+]Sources and References [-]Sources and References

  • 1, 9 Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2016; 128(3):447-455
  • 2, 16, 25 National Vital Statistics Report, August 6, 2015; 64(9): 1-6
  • 3, 20 Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook
  • 4 Institute for Health Metrix and Evaluation, Health Related SDGs
  • 5, 7, 8, 10, 13, 14 New York Times, September 21, 2016
  • 6 Vizhub.healthdata.org
  • 11 Obstetrics and Gynecology, January 2015; 125(1): 5-12
  • 12 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Reproductive Health
  • 15 American College of Emergency Physicians, Freestanding Emergency Departments
  • 17 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2010
  • 18, 23 University of Chicago Booth School of Business, September 29, 2014, Why is Infant Mortality Higher in the US than in Europe?
  • 19, 21 Washington Post, September 29, 2014
  • 22 World Health Organization’s Ranking of the World’s Health Systems
  • 24, 26 NBC News, U.S. Infant Mortality Rate Stays High, Report Finds
  • 27 Clinical Perinatology, September 2011; 38(3): 351-384
  • 28 March of Dimes, Stress and Pregnancy
  • 29, 30 Brain Behavior and Immunity, August 2010; 24(6) 881-897
  • 31 Brain Behavior and Immunity, July 2013; 31: 54-68
  • 32 Journal of Neuroscience, January 1, 2003; 23(1): 297-302
  • 33 Biological Psychiatry, February 15, 2014, 75(4): 332-341
  • 34 Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, 2003; 1:22
  • 35 Frontiers in Immunology, 2014; 5:574
  • 36 Journal of Periodontology Online, October 1996; 67(10): 1103 – 1113
  • 37  New England Journal of Medicine, 1995; 333: 1737-1742
  • 38 Journal of Dental Research, January 2002; 81(1): 58-62
  • 39 Vaccines.gov, How Vaccines Work
  • 40 March of Dimes, October 2014
  • 41 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Maternal Vaccines: Part of a Healthy Pregnancy
  • 42 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pregnant? Get Vaccinated
  • 43, 44 Human and Experimental Toxicology, September 2011; 30(9): 1420-1428