Black Women have Higher Rate of Low Birth Weight Babies

Black Women have Higher Rate of Low Birth Weight Babies

The Health of the African American population in 2013 is a compilation of data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC  is a United States government agency that tries to improve the quality and length of your life by the prevention and control of diseases.  One of the many services the CDC provides is an overall view of the health status of Black Americans in the United States.

This snapshot on the health status of Afro-Americans is very important because it gives us baseline data in a number of areas.  Obesity, diabetes, and hypertension immediately come to mind, but there are other areas of concern.

  1. The percentage of persons under 65 without health insurance coverage was 17.8% in 2013.  This lack of health insurance is a major factor in low healthcare system usage.  This number should be reduced by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in the future.
  2. The percent of births with low birth weight infants in non-Hispanic Black Women is 13.1.  There are a number of things that can be done to reduce this number.
  3. The percent of Black American Men over 18 years who currently smoke cigarettes was 22.7 (2011 -2013).
  4. The percentage of Black Women over 18 years who currently smoke cigarettes is 15.2% (2011-2013).

Smoking is a risk factor in the birth of low and very low birth weight infants.

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Low Birth Weight Babies are a Major Problem!

Child Health USA 2013 is published annually by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This report provides an ongoing, illustrated snapshot of current and historical data about the health of American Children. The 2013 report focused on maternal-infant health, including low birth weight infants.

Infants born at low birth weights (less than 5.5 pounds) and especially very low birth weight (less than 3.25 pounds) are more likely than infants of normal weight to die in the first year of life.  Low birth weight infants experience long-term physical and developmental health problems.  The majority of very low weight infants are born prematurely while those born at moderately low birth weight have many risk factors. These include prematurity, maternal high blood pressure during pregnancy, tobacco smoke exposure or inadequate weight gain during pregnancy. (Child Health USA 2013)

There are reasons for the rise in low birth weight infants:

Black Man kissing his Lady's Pregnant Belly

Black Couple with their Precious Cargo

  1. A rise in multiple births
  2. Increases in  obstetric interventions
  3. Increased use of fertility treatments
  4. Women are having babies later in life

Infants born to non-Hispanic Black women had a rate of low and very low birth rates of 13.18 and 2.94 percent, respectively. These levels are two or more times greater than the rate of infants born to women of other race and ethnic groups. Non-Hispanic Whites low and very low birth weights were 6.97 and 1.13 percent. This large difference is a major contributor to the mortality gap between Black and White infants.

23.1 percent of very low weight infants died in the first year of life while 5.3% of low weight infants and 0.2% of infants died in 2009 according to the Child Health 2013 report.

Smoking is Bad for Your Baby!

How Does Smoking During Pregnancy Harm My Health and My Baby?

Most people know that smoking causes cancer, heart disease, and other major health problems. Smoking during pregnancy causes additional health problems, including premature birth (being born too early), certain birth defects, and infant death.

  • Smoking makes it harder for a woman to get pregnant.
  • Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely than other women to have a miscarriage.
  • Smoking can cause problems with the placenta—the source of the baby’s food and oxygen during pregnancy. For example, the placenta can separate from the womb too early, causing bleeding, which is dangerous to the mother and baby.
    Black Infants have the highest percentage of low and very low birth weights in the United States

    Black Infants have the highest percentage of low and very low birth weights in the United States

  • Smoking during pregnancy can cause a baby to be born too early or to have low birth weight—making it more likely the baby will be sick and have to stay in the hospital longer. A few babies may even die.
  • Smoking during and after pregnancy is a risk factor of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS is an infant death for which a cause of the death cannot be found.
  • Babies born to women who smoke are more likely to have certain birth defects, like a cleft lip or cleft palate.

Protect Your Baby; Stop Smoking!

When you stop smoking, your baby immediately reaps the benefits.

  • Your baby will get more oxygen, even after just one day of not smoking.
  • There is less risk that your baby will be born too early.
  • There is a better chance that your baby will come home from the hospital with you.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cigarette smoking results in more than 480,000 premature deaths in the United States each year. Smoking accounts for nearly 1 in every 5 U.S. deaths1—and an additional 16 million people suffer from a serious illness caused by smoking.1 In fact, for every one person who dies from smoking, about 30 more suffer from at least one serious tobacco-related illness.1

The facts about smoking and its terrible effects on infants paint a grim picture. Just stop smoking!!

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