Alabama Infant Mortality Rate Drops to Lowest Level in History

State health officials have announced that Alabama’s infant mortality rate has dropped to the lowest level in history.

The Alabama Department of Public Health says the infant mortality rate now stands at 7.0 deaths per 1,000 live births as of 2018.

That marks an improvement over the 2017 rate of 7.4 and the 2016 rate of 9.1. A total of 405 infants born in Alabama died before reaching 1 year of age in 2018.

However, Alabama’s overall rate remains higher than the U.S. 2018 provisional rate of 5.7.

The infant mortality rate for black infants declined to 11.0 in 2018, and the infant mortality rate for white infants decreased to 5.1.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said in a statement, “While we are encouraged that the combined 2016-2018 infant mortality rate is below 8.0 for the first time, we must continue to address Alabama’s racial disparities in birth outcomes, increase access to prenatal care, and get women with opioid use disorder to treatment to reduce infant mortality.”

In 2018, a 37% decrease was noted in Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID), a leading cause of infant deaths in Alabama.

Disorders related to short gestation, births at less than 37 weeks gestation, low birth weights and births with no prenatal care slightly increased from 2017 to 2018. Alabama continued to experience a decline in the percentage of births to teens (6.9) and the percentage of births to mothers who smoked (8.7).

The top four leading causes of infant deaths in 2018 were as follows:
·        Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities
·        Disorders related to short gestation and low birth weight
·        Sudden infant death syndrome
·        Bacterial sepsis of newborn
These causes accounted for 50 percent of Alabama infant deaths.

Graphs and detailed charts are available at the Alabama Department of Public Health website

Categories: Montgomery Metro, News, Statewide