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Why are Black babies dying more than others?

Why are Black babies dying more than others?
Why are Black babies dying more than others? 02:34

NORTH TEXAS - Infant mortality remains a concern in the United States, but African American babies have the greatest risk.

According to the Office of Minority Health, Black newborns are more than twice as likely to die in their first year compared to White newborns. They are also nearly four times more likely to die from complications related to low birth weight. Common causes of infant mortality are premature birth, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome. Some infant deaths and still births are caused by an increase in chronic health conditions among Black women before pregnancy, like type two diabetes and hypertension.

Historically, data trends surrounding Black maternal health outcomes are concerning. Black women have experienced higher rates of pregnancy complications with them being three times more likely to die during pregnancy and childbirth than white women, regardless of income, education or lifestyle.

Experts credit this health disparity to structural and systemic racism, which can lead to chronic stress. Stress takes a toll on the body and could ignite biological changes in a woman that can affect her unborn baby's health.

"We can't talk about infant mortality rates and racial disparities without talking about structural racism, social determinants of poor health outcomes-like where someone resides, lack of transportation, food insecurity," Dr. Tosin Goje, from Cleveland Clinic, said. "When patients are availing themselves for early prenatal care, we're able to provide what we call wraparound resources."

Doctors encourage expecting mothers to establish care with their doctors to address any pre-existing health conditions. Also, experts say prenatal care is crucial for the mother and baby's health and can help diagnose any congenital conditions.

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