Birth outcomes are measures such as gestational age of infant and birthweight. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control (US CDC), more than three million healthy babies are born annually in the United States. The majority of these outcomes include a safe pregnancy and the delivery of a healthy, full-term baby. However, some of pregnancies result in adverse birth outcomes linked to genetic, behavioral, social and environmental factors.
Historically, Louisiana has had among the highest infant and maternal mortality rates, low birth weights, and preterm birth rates in the country. Risk factors include extreme heat, heavy metal exposure, air pollution, disaster environments, nutrition, population exposure, pesticide exposures, hormone disorders, birth defects, and developmental disabilities. In response to these poor birth outcomes, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) implemented a multi-faceted Birth Outcomes Initiative (BOI) at a state-wide level. Louisiana has become one of the first states to implement an initiative that reduces elective, non-medically necessary deliveries before 39 weeks. This window of time is the optimal timeframe for a baby to grow and develop.
Low Birth Weight
Birth weight is the weight of the newborn measured immediately after birth. The LDH Tracking Program collects data on low term birth weights, less than 5.5 pounds or 2500 grams, and very low birth weights, less than 3.3 pounds or 1500 grams, among singleton births.
The LDH Tracking Program collects information on premature births and very premature births. A baby is considered premature if he or she is born before the 37th completed week of pregnancy, also known as gestation. A baby is considered very premature if he or she is born before the 32nd completed week of pregnancy. Because multiple births, such as twins, triplets, etc., are disproportionately associated with premature births, the measures included here are based only on live singleton births (where only one baby was conceived and born).
The LDH Tracking Program collects information on infant mortality, neonatal mortality, post-neonatal mortality, and perinatal mortality. Infant mortality occurs when an infant dies before 1 year of age, neonatal mortality occurs when an infant dies before 28 days of age, post-neonatal mortality occurs when an infant dies on or after 28 days of age and before 1 year of age, and perinatal mortality occurs when an infant dies after 28 weeks of gestation and before 7 days of age.
Fertility refers to the ability to conceive children. According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 6% of women in the United States of reproductive age, aged 15-44 years, have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. Infertility may be the result of many different factors including age, existing medical conditions, and possible exposure to environmental contaminants. Total fertility rate (TFR) represent the ratio of live births in an area to the population of women of reproductive age in that area. Total fertility differs from other common fertility measures such as the general fertility rate (GFT) in that it adjusts for age-specific differences in fertility.
Male/Female Sex Ratio
The sex ratio is a proportion relating the number of babies born male to number of babies born female. The expected sex ratio at birth is 105 boys born for every 100 girls, which results in male/female sex ratio of 1.05. If a parish has a sex ratio greater than one, that means more male babies were born than female babies for that time period. If a parish has a sex ratio less than one, that means that more female babies were born than male babies for that time period.
Tracking Reproductive and Birth Outcomes in Louisiana
Low Birth Weight
Percent of singleton very low birth weight (less than 1500 grams)
Percent of singleton, term low birth weight (less than 2500 grams)
Percent of singleton preterm births (Less than 37 weeks gestation)
Percent of singleton very preterm births (less than 32 weeks gestation)
Infant Mortality Rate - infant deaths occurring before 1 year of age per 1,000 live births
Neonatal Mortality Rate – infant deaths occurring before 28 days of age per 1,000 live births
Post-neonatal Mortality Rate – infant deaths occurring on or after 28 days and before 1 year of age per 1,000 live births
Perinatal Mortality - fetal deaths occurring after 28 weeks of gestation or infant deaths occurring before 7 days of age per 1,000 live births plus fetal deaths after 28 weeks of gestation
Total Fertility Rate per 1,000 women of reproductive age
Male/Female Sex Ratio
Male to Female sex ratio at birth
To explore reproductive and birth outcomes data, click here.