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Infant mortality rate increases in SC, according to 2018 report

According to DHEC, while the rate raised last year, the overall rate in the last two decades has decreased
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According to the the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), infant mortality rates for South Carolina increased in 2018. 

The new data released shows that S.C's infant mortality rate increased to 7.2 deaths per 1,000 births in 2018 from 6.5 in 2017. 

“One death of a newborn is one too many,” said Nick Davidson, DHEC’s interim director of Public Health. “DHEC remains committed to working with our partners to decrease infant mortality in South Carolina and ensure healthier moms and babies.”

According to the report, while there was an increase in 2018, the overall rate has decreased in the past two decades. The report states that since 1999, there has been a 30 percent decrease in infant mortality.

In 2018, the infant mortality rate among the minority population increased from 9.0 to 11.1 deaths per 1,000 births and was 2.2 times higher than in the white population. The number of infant deaths due to maternal complications of pregnancy decreased 32.4 percent, from 34 deaths in 2017 to 23 in 2018.

The top five causes of infant death in 2018 were defects, disorders related to short gestation and low birthweight, accidents, maternal complications of pregnancy, and bacterial sepsis.

“While some risk factors for infant mortality are related to access to care, there are many practical steps that women can take before and during pregnancy, as well as things that caregivers can do after a baby’s birth to help prevent some types of infant deaths,” said Kimberly Seals, director of DHEC’s Bureau of Maternal and Child Health.

DHEC reccomends that those with infants follow the following steps to promote infant safety. 

Remember the ABCs: leave your baby Alone on their Back in their Crib without blankets, pillows or bumper pads.

Get healthy before you get pregnant:

  • Quit smoking – Pregnant women can call our Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free help.
  • Get chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension under control.
  • Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should take a multivitamin that includes at least 0.4 mg of folic acid daily. Folic acid can help prevent birth defects like spina bifida and anencephaly.

The full report is available here.