Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Why US infant mortality rates are misleading

Many leftists decry the US' relatively high infant mortality rate. However, the high rate is misleading, because other countries do not count the deaths of low-weight infants because they are "non-viable". Also, babies who do not live more than 24 hours are also excluded.

As Dr. Linda Halderman explains:

According to the way statistics are calculated in Canada, Germany, and Austria, a premature baby weighing <500g is not considered a living child.

But in the U.S., such very low birth weight babies are considered live births.

The mortality rate of such babies — considered “unsalvageable” outside of the U.S. and therefore never alive — is extraordinarily high; up to 869 per 1,000 in the first month of life alone. This skews U.S. infant mortality statistics.


Some of the countries reporting infant mortality rates lower than the U.S. classify babies as “stillborn” if they survive less than 24 hours whether or not such babies breathe, move, or have a beating heart at birth. Forty percent of all infant deaths occur in the first 24 hours of life.

In the United States, all infants who show signs of life at birth (take a breath, move voluntarily, have a heartbeat) are considered alive.

If a child in Hong Kong or Japan is born alive but dies within the first 24 hours of birth, he or she is reported as a “miscarriage” and does not affect the country’s reported infant mortality rates.

The length of pregnancy considered “normal” is 37-41 weeks. In Belgium and France — in fact, in most European Union countries — any baby born before 26 weeks gestation is not considered alive and therefore does not “count” against reported infant mortality rates.

H/T: American Thinker