Wednesday, August 26, 2020

WELLNESS WEDNESDAYS: Infant Mortality and Maternal Obesity

Babies are like bits of stardust, blown from the hand of God.

                                                                  --unknown author

Partners for Healthy Babies | Partners for Family Health

The death of an infant is not a normal event. 

Having a baby is a time of joy, love, and excitement because you are creating a new life to bring into this world.  The birth of a child is a celebratory event, a new beginning.

But some infants die before their first birthday.   

Infant mortality rate is the number of infant (aged under 1 year) deaths per 1,000 live births in a specified group. On August 21, 2020, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report called Infant Mortality by Maternal Prepregnancy Body Mass Index:  2017-2018.  According to the report’s authors*, “Generally, infant mortality increased as maternal BMI increased from the normal through obese weight categories.”  The authors summarized the study’s findings with this statement, “Nonoptimal BMI before pregnancy has implications for infant and maternal health, given the potential for adverse health outcomes for both women and infants.”  They found a direct relationship between maternal weight and infant mortality. 

This study is an important reason that with the decision to become pregnant comes the reality of how connected being at a healthy weight is to the health of the baby.  Knowing that the more overweight or obese a woman (or girl) is when she is pregnant is directly related to an increased chance that the infant may die before the age of 1 is a reality that should, ideally, be part of pre-pregnancy counseling for all reproductive age women. 

*The study authors are Danielle M. Ely, Ph.D., Elizabeth C.W. Gregory, M.P.H., and Patrick Drake, M.S. This National Center for Health Statistics report can be downloaded from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

With love,

Nancy Heinrich, MPH

Founder and Wellness Architect

Growing Healthy Kids, Inc.