Over the past two decades, American medicine has made dramatic advances in cardiac care, obesity medicines, and organ transplant success rates, but in a sad marker, "the death rate for babies rose for the first time in 20 years," reports Liz Essley Whyte of The Wall Street Journal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "The rate of babies dying in the U.S. increased 3% from 2021 to 2022. . . . The rate increased from 5.44 infant deaths for every 1,000 births to 5.6 in 2022, a statistically significant uptick."

U.S. infant mortality rate is strikingly high at "double that of many developed countries," Whyte notes. "Globally, baby death rates have fallen for decades, though five countries that have reported their rates this year recorded increases for last year. . . . The death rate for women who give birth has also been rising in the U.S. Researchers who study the issues said the pair of trends indicate more women giving birth are facing challenges getting proper care."

Arjumand Siddiqi, a University of Toronto professor who studies population health, told Whyte, "The U.S. is falling behind on a basic indicator of how well societies treat people. In a country as well-resourced as the U.S., with as much medical technology and so on, we shouldn't have babies dying in the first year of life. That should be super rare, and it's not."

The maternal-infant relationship has complex layers, but it begins with how healthy the mother is. "Complications during pregnancy was one of the fastest-rising causes of infant death, the CDC said, along with dangerous bacterial infections called sepsis," Whyte explains. Researchers cited premature births as one likely contributor to the increase, along with poor nutrition throughout pregnancy.

Read the full article about infant mortality rates by Heather Close at The Rural Blog.