- Switzerland doesn't count babies shorter than 30 cm
- Italy doesn't have a standard definition for the whole country
- Austria and Germany, fetal weight must be at least 500 grams before these countries count these infants as live births.
- In Belgium and France, births at less than 26 weeks of pregnancy are registered as lifeless.
- Some countries don't reliably register babies who die within the first 24 hours of birth
- In many ex-Soviet CIS countries (who still use the Soviet era definition), "breathing is the only criterion for life. In addition, infants who are born at less than 28 weeks, weighing less than 1,000 grams or measuring less than 35 centimeters are not counted as live births if they die within seven days" according to UNICEF. "The communist system stressed the need to keep infant mortality low, and hospitals and medical staff faced penalties if they reported increases in infant deaths. As a result, they sometimes reported the deaths of babies in their care as miscarriages or stillbirths."
Monday, April 19, 2010
How does the infant mortality rate in the US compare?
So many times, healthcare "reform" supporters tout the high level of infant mortality (and the disparities between ethnicities) as evidence of the United States' poor health care system. According to the CDC, "The U.S. ranks 29th worldwide in infant mortality, tying Slovakia and Poland but lagging behind Cuba." But what is the truth behind this oft-used statistic? Differing methods of live birth measurement between countries, advances in medicine, and rates of low-birth-weight pregnancies all affect the "discrepancy." All babies showing any signs of life, such as muscle activity, a gasp for breath or a heartbeat, should be included as a live birth, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The United States abides by this definition; however, many other countries do not.