Reproductive and Birth Outcomes
More than 100,000 babies are born every year in Michigan. Most women have a normal pregnancy and a healthy baby. But poor reproductive and birth outcomes can affect an infant’s health and survival, and cause emotional and financial stress on families.
Reproductive health refers to the health of women and men during their reproductive years, the time when they are physically able to have a child. Infections, depression, and other medical conditions can affect the ability of women and men to conceive a child. Harmful substances in the environment can also affect reproductive health and cause infertility.
Birth outcome means the health of a baby at birth. Poor birth outcomes include premature births, low birth weights, birth defects, fetal alcohol syndrome, and death of the baby or mother at birth. For every 1,000 babies born in Michigan, almost 7 die by age one. Infant death rates, also called infant mortality rates, are much higher for certain racial and ethnic groups. For example, the infant mortality rate for African American and American Indian babies is more than twice that of Caucasian babies.
What can cause poor reproductive and birth outcomes?
- Physical problems:
- For women, being over 35 years of age
- Poor health before and during pregnancy
- Lack of access to medical care
- Lack of healthy food
- Lack of vitamins
- Drinking alcohol during pregnancy
- Untreated infections, such as bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, and chlamydia
- Unsafe sleeping
- Smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke
- Air pollution
- Lead in paint and other products
- Mercury and other chemicals in fish
- Chemicals including pesticides
- Other man-made chemicals
What can you do to protect your and your baby’s health?
- See a health provider before you become pregnant and during your pregnancy.
- Do not smoke or let anyone smoke around you or your baby.
- Do not use alcohol or “street drugs”.
- Take a multivitamin with at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day before and during your pregnancy.
- Gain the amount of weight your health provider recommends during pregnancy, not too little or too much.
- When outdoor air quality is poor, avoid outdoor physical activities that cause you to breathe hard.
- Be up-to-date on your and your baby’s vaccinations.
- Avoid coming into contact with lead.
- Create a safe sleep space by putting your baby to sleep on their back in his or her own bed, without soft items including blankets, toys, or crib bumpers.
- Follow the Eat Safe Fish guidelines.
- If you are at risk of domestic violence, find a safe place to live and get emotional support. If you need help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE.
What reproductive and birth outcomes data are available on MiTracking?
Reproductive and birth outcomes data on MiTracking include these indicators:
- Low birth weight
- Sex ratio
- Infant morality
- Fertility rate
The data can tell us:
- The numbers and rates of prematurity, low birth weight, infant mortality, and sex ratio by year and race/ethnicity.
- If a certain reproductive or birth outcome is going up or down over time
- If sex ratio is going up or down over time
- If certain age groups, races, or ethnicities are at increased risk of poor reproductive or birth outcomes
However, the data cannot tell us:
- The causes of reproductive and birth outcomes
For more information about reproductive and birth outcomes, visit these websites.
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
March of Dimes