Interim State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris says Alabama is trending in the wrong direction when it comes to infant mortality. The State Department of Public Health issued a report yesterday showing that Alabama’s infant mortality rate increased to 9.1 infant deaths per 1-thousand live births in 2016. That is the highest point since 2008. Dr. Harris says several factors are to blame, like access to health care for mothers before, during and after pregnancy; premature births; and the opioid epidemic.
The top three leading causes of infant death remain the same: congenital malformation, premature births, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Harris said they hope to reduce the numbers by reducing tobacco use among women of childbearing age, encouraging women to wait at least 18 months between giving birth and becoming pregnant again and continuing safe sleep education efforts.