Improving Birth Outcomes
What’s the Story?
Birth defects and low birth weight are the two leading causes of infant death in New Jersey. Many factors contribute to adverse birth outcomes including: nutrition, quality of prenatal care, medical problems, infections, use of cigarettes, alcohol and other substances, mother's age, obesity, stress, violence and poverty. There are many ways to improve pregnancy outcomes including: decreased prenatal cigarette smoking, and improved patient-family centered perinatal care.
By the Numbers
The infant mortality rate has steadily declined, decreasing significantly from 6.3 per 1,000 live births in 2000, to 4.0 in 2012. Low birth weight and birth defects have been the two leading causes of infant death since at least 1999. Infant deaths are significantly higher among Blacks (7.9) compared to Whites (2.9). Disparities exist among rates, but it should be noted that all racial and ethnic groups have experienced decreases since 2000, with the White rate having decreased from 3.9 in 2000 to 2.9 in 2012 and the Black rate having decreased from 13.2 in 2000 to 7.9 in 2012.
The Department of Health funded the Improving Birth Outcomes Initiative to reduce preterm birth rates in the state and to ensure more newborns have a healthy start to life.
Collaborative DOH efforts include: providing $13.5 million in grants to community health centers, maternal and child health consortia, local health departments and social services agencies to enroll women into care; supporting the Mom's Quit Connection (MQC) which provides free counseling services and support for pregnant women and new mothers trying to quit smoking; and supporting the Baby- Friendly Hospital Initiative aimed at improving maternity care practices and policies in support of breastfeeding.
Under the Maternal Child Health (MCH) block grant, the DOH will be teaming up with the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Education to fund Central Intake which is a program that will facilitate the referral process from providers and match families with the appropriate home visiting program and/or family support services. By processing all referrals through a single agency in each county, the State will increase coordination between programs, limit the duplication of services, and improve the utilization of available resources.
Did You Know?
Approximately 50% of NJ mothers who quit smoking during pregnancy relapsed after delivery.
To Learn More
For more information, please refer to these resources:
- Building Partnerships across the State to Improve Birth Outcomes & Create Healthy Communities
- Mom's Quit Connection
- NJ Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative Evaluation Executive Summary
- National Center for Health Statistics
- March of Dimes Peristats
- Maternal and Child Health Consortia
* Rate per 100,000 population
† Only one year of data currently available