Patterns of Infant Mortality in Relation to Birth Weight, Gestational and Maternal Age, Parity, and Prenatal Care in Texas' Triethnic Population, 1984 through 1986

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Neonatal, postneonatal, and infant mortality rates were determined in Texas' triethnic populations from 1984 through 1986 with relation to gestational age, birth weight, maternal age, parity, and prenatal care. All mortality rates were increased in the black population. Preterm birth and low birth weight were both strong predictors of mortality. The neonatal mortality rate of preterm black infants was actually lower than those of the other ethnic groups, but the increased proportion of black pregnancies that resulted in preterm and low-birth-weight births, together with their elevated postneonatal mortality rates, produced an infant mortality rate that was twice as high in black as in Anglo and Hispanic infants. The infant mortality rate was highest in infants born to mothers younger than 18 years, of high multiparity, and with inadequate or no prenatal care. Recognition of these associations should enable improved planning of care for all Texas women and their infants.

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