California’s infant mortality rate is lower than the nation’s and has reached a record low.1
Infant mortality is an important indicator of the overall health and well-being of the population. The infant mortality rate is regarded as a highly sensitive measure of population health because there is an association between the causes of infant mortality and other factors that influence the status of whole populations such as economic development, general living conditions, social well-being, rates of illness, quality and access to medical care, public health practices, and quality of the environment. The infant mortality rate is measured as the number of infant deaths before one year of age for every 1,000 live births in that population. About two-thirds of infant deaths occur before a baby is one month old, and the remaining third between two and 12 months of life.2
Infant mortality is linked to women’s health status with healthier moms having healthier babies. Considering nearly half of pregnancies are unplanned, it is critical for women to get healthy now. Women’s health is multifaceted and includes good nutrition, reducing or quitting smoking, and avoiding excess alcohol use. Optimal health also includes managing stress, strong social support, education, economic stability, and being able to live in healthy neighborhoods for physical activity and community safety. Of course, being able to access high quality health care also matters.