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Jackson, MS – Mississippi’s infant mortality rate is declining. Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) officials report a significant downward trend in the state’s infant mortality rate from 2005 to 2012. In the recently released 2012 numbers, the state’s infant mortality rate was 8.8 per 1,000 live births, compared to 9.4 in 2011, 9.6 in 2010, 10.0 in 2009, 9.9 in 2008, 10.1 in 2007, 10.5 in 2006 and 11.4 in 2005.

The state has also seen a decline in the teen (ages 15-19) birth rate from 2008 through 2012. In 2012 Mississippi’s teen birth rate was 46 births per 1,000 teens, compared to 65.6 in 2008.

“So many factors are in play when you are dealing with the extremely complex issue of infant mortality,” said State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier. “In order to continue to see this decline in the deaths of our infants we must ensure that women are healthy before they are pregnant, and have access to good prenatal care when they become pregnant.”

“We know that being a teen mom is a major risk factor for infant mortality, so access to care and education for teens is important as well. We must also continue to educate new mothers on the risk of smoking around infants, the importance of safe sleep practices, and the proper installation and usage of car seats.”

While Mississippi’s infant mortality rate is on the decline, the state remains above the 2010 national average of 6.15 deaths per 1,000 live births.

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