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Matern Child Health J. 2014 Jan;18(1):233-41. doi: 10.1007/s10995-013-1259-0.

Disparities in mortality rates among US infants born late preterm or early term, 2003-2005.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Rd. NE, CNR Room 3019, Atlanta, GA, 30322, USA, king.jennifer@marshfieldclinic.org.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify disparities in neonatal, post-neonatal, and overall infant mortality rates among infants born late preterm (34-36 weeks gestation) and early term (37-38 weeks gestation) by race/ethnicity, maternal age, and plurality. In analyses of 2003-2005 data from US period linked birth/infant death datasets, we compared infant mortality rates by race/ethnicity, maternal age, and plurality among infants born late preterm or early term and also determined the leading causes of death among these infants. Among infants born late preterm, infants born to American Indian/Alaskan Native, non-Hispanic black, or teenage mothers had the highest infant mortality rates per 1,000 live births (14.85, 9.90, and 11.88 respectively). Among infants born early term, corresponding mortality rates were 5.69, 4.49, and 4.82, respectively. Among infants born late preterm, singletons had a higher infant mortality rate than twins (8.59 vs. 5.62), whereas among infants born early term, the rate was higher among twins (3.67 vs. 3.15). Congenital malformations and sudden infant death syndrome were the leading causes of death among both late preterm and early term infants. Infant mortality rates among infants born late preterm or early term varied substantially by maternal race/ethnicity, maternal age, and plurality. Information about these disparities may help in the development of clinical practice and prevention strategies targeting infants at highest risk.

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