More than one third of all infant deaths during the first year is due to premature delivery, according to the Centers For Disease Control. Premature delivery is the primary cause for black infant death. Black women are 1.5 times more likely to deliver prematurely, and the infant death rate is 2.4 times greater among black infants than white infants. But why?
Why the risk is higher
Research at the U.S. National Institutes of Health found that:
#1 - high blood pressure and diabetes were more prevalent among black women than white and Hispanic women, which can lead to stillbirth.
#2 - In addition, black women also have more placenta or umbilical cord problems during birthing.
#3 - Tobacco use,
#4 - obesity,
#5 - and lack of proper medical care also play a significant role in pregnancy loss.
#6 - However, a study from the Virginia Commonwealth University found a gene that may shed more light on the reason why black women have a higher rate of pregnancy loss. Researchers found a defect in a gene essential to the production of collagen in the amniotic sac, and the defect was discovered to be 3 times more common among black women than white women. But it was found in only 12 percent of study participants.
While there is no one reason why black women have a higher risk for stillborn babies, there is much all women can do to help prevent it, including:
- Don't smoke or use alcohol while pregnant
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get regular medical care during pregnancy