Racial Inequality in Infant Mortality Rate Essay Example

Racial Inequality in Infant Mortality Rate

Esmaeili, M., Motlagh, A., & Rahimzadeh, M. (2020). Factors Associated with Re-Admission and Mortality Rate in Low Birth Weight and Very Low Birth Weight Infant. International Journal Of Psychosocial Rehabilitation24(03), 1407-1414. https://doi.org/10.37200/ijpr/v24i3/pr200890

High infant mortality rates (IMR) in the U.S have been a critical health concern for years (Esmaeili et al., 2020). This article highlights risk factors, interventions, and causes that can minimize IMR. An infant’s death is due to an interplay between various factors, which in multiple instances could be drawn from parents’ infancy. Subsequently, such complex connections affect the efficacy of multiple interventions. In such a context, a good understanding of the outcomes and risk factors linked with low birth mass permits highly qualified care to pregnant females and infants using the new technologies established in neonatal, prenatal, and perinatal care more suitably. The current developments in neonatal and perinatal care, like centers of neonatal intensive care, mechanical ventilation, and surfactant replacement therapy, have contributed to lowering IMR among newborns, specifically those having low birth weight. Such new technologies enable the endurance of fetuses, which would likely become miscarriages.

Despite technological developments, infant and maternal health conditions are affected by social settings and public care offered to specific populations (Esmaeili et al., 2020). In such a sense, health determinants that involve various social, biological, and care-related features must be factored in. Such needs to be evaluated, and use the findings to ascertain the risk factors of preterm birth within the affected population. Differences in vulnerability and exposure to health conditions like lifestyle, behavior types, work conditions, health system (mostly when there is no provision of protection elements like prenatal care), and living conditions are essential public health determinants. Low birth weight could be a key child mortality risk predictor, and its progressive assessment as a given point is critical for planning, monitoring, and executing policies in the field of child and maternal health.

Statistics indicate that the infant mortality rate reduced by 2.9 %, from 558 newborns in every 100 000 births to 541 deaths per the same population from 2019 to 2020 (Esmaeili et al., 2020). Reasons for infant death are classified based on the infant death numbers. Among the causes of infant death include neonatal hemorrhage, low birth weight, maternal complications, bacterial sepsis of the infant, sudden newborn death syndrome, circulatory system diseases, unintentional injuries, and placental and cord complications. All these factors account for 68 % of newborn deaths in the U.S (Esmaeili et al., 2020). Racial inequality is among the leading elements of increased infant mortality rate. Lack of adequate access to the racial minority puts them at high risk of high mortality rates.

Lee, M., Hall, E., & DeFranco, E. (2019). Contribution of pre-viable births to infant mortality rate racial disparity in the United States. Journal Of Perinatology39(9), 1190-1195. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41372-019-0394-x

Among the developed nations, the U.S has the highest infant and maternal mortality rates. Black American mothers and their infants have the lowest survival rates among the affected population. Black American women from all walks of life and across the spectrum succumb to avoidable pregnancy-associated complications 3-4 times compared to White women (Lee et al., 2019). In addition, the death rate of black newborns is double that of newborns of White mothers. Debates of maternal health predicament in the U.S mostly exclude such condition which excessively impacts black women, with Black women more likely to experience Severe Maternal Morbidity than White women. Moreover, Black American mothers are more likely to have their newborns before their first birthday than white women (Lee et al., 2019). Though other racial minorities experience an increased threat of poor outcomes, particularly the Alaska Native, some Latina populations, and American Indian communities, statistics indicate that racial inequalities between the Whites and Black Americans are the most significant.

Pregnancy-associated complications are relatively associated with the death of newborns. Nearly two-thirds of newborn deaths happen within the 1st month after conception, mostly from genetic complications and abnormalities from preterm deliveries (Lee et al., 2019). Preterm deliveries are a weighty contributor to racial inequalities in infant mortality. Amongst any ethnic or racial group in the U.S, Black Americans have the highest IMR, and the increased preterm delivery rates describe more than half the variance compared to White women.

Inequalities in infant and maternal mortality are entrenched in racism. Organizational racism in social service and health care delivery implies that Black American women primarily receive inferior quality care compared to white women. Such leads to denial of care when Black women need help in pain or when social service and health care providers fail to serve them with respect and dignity. Such stressors and the collective experience of sexism and racism, particularly during sensitive developmental times, cause a line of biological processes, referred to as weathering, destabilizing Black American women’s mental and physical health. The enduring psychological toll of racism puts Black American women at a more significant threat of various medical conditions that risk their lives and their infants (Lee et al., 2019). Such risks include pregnancy-associated high blood pressure (preeclampsia), a complication of preeclampsia signified by seizures (eclampsia), mental health conditions, and embolisms (blood vessel obstructions).

Bellazaire, A., & Skinner, E. (2019). Preventing Infant and Maternal Mortality: State Policy Options. Retrieved 24 September 2022, from https://www.ncsl.org/research/health/preventing-infant-and-maternal-mortality-state-policy-options.aspx.

The infant and maternal mortality crisis cannot be addressed adequately without comprehending eliminating bias and racism within the health care sector. Black Americans have suffered years of racism in the United States (Bellazaire & Skinner, 2019). Such has happened within various institutions and systems in American society, where the health care structure is one. Racism, and not race, is the leading cause behind unevenly high infant and maternal deaths among Black Americans, and the general barriers are caused by implicit and explicit bias.

Policymakers must ensure access to healthcare is available to every population regardless of race, ethnicity, or social background. Access to family planning, reproductive health care, and maternal care is a crucial collection of health services women need to have healthy pregnancies. Contraceptive coverage must be enhanced through private and public health insurance sources free from damaging funding limitations and other directives that obscure a woman’s capacity to obtain wide-ranging reproductive health care. Studies indicate that when females get an unplanned pregnancy and are forced to maintain it till delivery, they are more likely to adjourn prenatal care (Bellazaire & Skinner, 2019). Such can lead to poor infant and maternal health outcomes. An individual’s ability to decide how, when, and if to give birth is inseparably associated with her general well-being, health, educational attainment, and economic security.

To minimize morbidity and mortality linked to preterm deliveries, policymakers need to make screening of women access to the broad extent of the modern research-based guidelines and give public funding to promote access to medication through care coordination, outreach, and various supports. In each case, health care providers must inform women of such screening as an appropriate option, work with them to get knowledgeable, and then decide on a suitable course of action. Suppose one is found to have a high threat of preterm delivery through cervical screening or a questionnaire. In that case, healthcare givers should ensure the affected individual understands their treatment option and establish ways of minimizing the risk.