West Virginia – a state well known for poor health rankings in obesity, diabetes, drug overdose deaths and hypertension – has one of the lowest maternal mortality rates in the country. Mountain State babies, however, do not fare so well.
In 2014, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health reported three maternal deaths, along with 249 fetal and infant deaths.
West Virginia’s infant mortality rate in 2014, according to the Bureau for Public Health, was 7.1 deaths per 1,000 births – 22.4 percent higher than the national rate.
Nationwide, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported infant mortality reached a historic low in 2014 – 5.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. West Virginia’s rate in 2014, according to the Bureau for Public Health, was 7.1 deaths per 1,000 births – 22.4 percent higher than the national rate.
A 2013 report from the West Virginia Perinatal Partnership, a statewide association of healthcare professionals and public and private organizations working to improve perinatal health, identified the following reasons for poor birth outcomes in the state: education; high rates of drug and alcohol use; low rates of breastfeeding; high teen pregnancy rates; and high rate of tobacco use in pregnancy; early induction and preterm births; high rate of C-section deliveries; maternal and infant transport; access to quality care, including access to skilled professionals; and obesity…