Friday, March 16, 2007

Pre-term babies and pre-pregnancy

Slate has an piece today about the US's relatively high infant mortality rate (compared to other industrialized nations), which argues that America's bad numbers are the result of a high rate of pre-term deliveries and not of bad health care. Darshak Sanghavi, the article's author, says quite reasonably that industrialized nations experience the most infant mortality in connection with early births, which are more likely when a couple uses fertility drugs to conceive. I haven't had the chance to do any Googling, but I'm not sure that Sanghavi convinced me that we're killing these infants by spending too much on their health care, but it did make me think back to the whole "pre-pregnancy" health idea that was unveiled soon after the US' infant mortality numbers came to light.

In my post on the subject last May, I discussed my suspicion that the CDC's recommendations were shifting the burden of good health from this country's inadequate and underserving healthcare system onto women who probably aren't risking much when they have a drink or five at some time during their childbearing years. Given what Sanghavi is arguing, it becomes even less believable that women neglecting to take daily folic acid supplements between the ages of 15 and 45 are what's behind the US' infant mortality rate.

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