Promising Findings in Infant Health

Percentage of Infants Born Preterm Based on Obstetric Estimates (OE) of Gestation: 2016

Recently updated topics on infant health in California show positive findings in establishing a strong start for babies, but inequities persist. A few findings include:

Low Birthweight and Preterm Births: Based on obstetric estimates, 8.6% of infants were born preterm (before 37 weeks of gestation) in 2016, exceeding the U.S. average of 9.8% and the Healthy People 2020 target of 9.4%. Obstetric estimates of preterm births is a new indicator on

Teen Births: The teen birth rate has declined from 63 per 1,000 births to 16 per 1,000 births between 1995 to 2016. Reducing teen births decreases instances of infants born with low birthweight and preterm births.

Prenatal Care: Mothers receiving prenatal care in the first trimester in 2016 varied by race/ethnicity, with 88% of infants of white mothers as compared to 70% of infants of American Indian/Alaskan Native mothers receiving prenatal care.

Breastfeeding: Exclusive breastfeeding of newborns while in the hospital in 2018 also varied by race/ethnicity, with 81% of white mothers as compared to 62% of African American/Black mothers exclusively breastfeeding.

Additional Resources

October is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month. Find toolkits and resources offered by the California Department of Public Health SIDS Program.

Recently Released Data

We recently released data about Low Birthweight and Preterm Births, Teen Births, and Breastfeeding. See links to the latest here.

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