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Perinatal Health Stats for the US

  • Every 8 seconds a baby is born in the United States.
  • Every hour 3 babies die.
  • African American infants are more than twice as likely to die before their first birthday as white infants.
  • Birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality.
  • More than one in five infant deaths is due to birth defects.
  • Every 3½ minutes a baby is born with a birth defect.*
  • Each year 2,500 babies are born with birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.
  • Every 2 minutes a low birthweight baby is born.
  • Every year more than 4,200 babies are born weighing less than 1 pound.
  • Every minute a baby is born to a teen mother.
  • Each day 410 babies are born to mothers who started prenatal care in the 3rd trimester or received no prenatal care at all.
  • More than 1 in 9 infants is born preterm (less than 37 weks gestation).
  • The US infant mortality rate is higher than 25 other nations.

Based on 1998 final data from the National Center for Health Statistics and *estimates from the CDC

© 2002 March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation


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