What are the Different Causes of Infant Mortality?

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
Bed rest before birth can help babies come to term.
Bed rest before birth can help babies come to term.

There are various causes of infant death, though there are a few top conditions that together cause most of the deaths of babies under the age of one. Some of the causes of infant mortality revolve around the pregnancy and delivery, including preterm birth, congenital defects that form in the uterus, pregnancy complications within the mother, and issues with the placenta or umbilical cord. One of the most well-known causes of infant mortality is SIDS, or sudden infant death syndrome, which is when a baby dies unexpectedly and for unknown reasons before reaching the age of one.

SIDS, also known as crib death, is one of the most well-known causes of infant mortality.
SIDS, also known as crib death, is one of the most well-known causes of infant mortality.

Mothers who experience complications during pregnancy are at risk for having a baby that dies soon after birth. Issues like preeclampsia and placenta previa often require the mother to be on bed rest in the hopes of keeping the baby in the womb for as long as possible. This is because preterm birth, which is the delivery of the baby before 37 weeks, is one of the main causes of infant mortality since it often results in low birth weight. Babies under 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg) tend to be less healthy than heavier babies, and often struggle to survive since their growth has been restricted, usually leading to organs that are smaller than average. Of course, babies who receive proper medical care right away may beat the low odds of survival among preterm infants.

Safety experts advise against crib bumpers, comforters and other baby bedding that may pose a suffocation risk.
Safety experts advise against crib bumpers, comforters and other baby bedding that may pose a suffocation risk.

Some causes of infant mortality occur naturally in the uterus, in which there is an issue with the unborn baby's development rather than the mother's body. For example, congenital defects occur while the baby is still developing, and the most serious types can lead to death. Reasons for congenital defects range from chromosomal abnormalities and infections, to genetic anomalies and an issue with the uterus. In some cases, the umbilical cord or placenta may malfunction, preventing nutrients and oxygen from getting to the unborn baby. This can result in death within the womb at any time, as well as low birth weight that eventually leads to death shortly after delivery.

Cigarette smoke may lead to infant death.
Cigarette smoke may lead to infant death.

SIDS, also known as crib death, is one of the most well-known causes of infant mortality, and is often feared by parents since it usually occurs without warning while the baby is sleeping. There is no known cause for this medical problem, but theories suggest that it has to do with sleep arousal issues or excessive carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. Some ways thought to help prevent SIDS include placing a baby on its back to sleep rather than its stomach, keeping cigarette smoke away from the infant, avoiding soft bedding or blankets, and placing a ceiling fan in the baby's room to keep fresh air circulating.

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    • Bed rest before birth can help babies come to term.
      By: Milissenta
      Bed rest before birth can help babies come to term.
    • SIDS, also known as crib death, is one of the most well-known causes of infant mortality.
      By: Miolay
      SIDS, also known as crib death, is one of the most well-known causes of infant mortality.
    • Safety experts advise against crib bumpers, comforters and other baby bedding that may pose a suffocation risk.
      By: hartphotography
      Safety experts advise against crib bumpers, comforters and other baby bedding that may pose a suffocation risk.
    • Cigarette smoke may lead to infant death.
      By: gcpics
      Cigarette smoke may lead to infant death.