Table of Contents

INFANT DEATHS, FETAL DEATHS, ABORTIONS AND PREGNANCIES

INFANT DEATHS

In 2000, there were 39 resident infant deaths for a rate of 6.0 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. This is an increase from the 1999 rate of 5.6, the lowest rate ever in Vermont (Table A-1). The rate remains above the Healthy Vermonters 2010 goal of 4.5, and also higher than the preliminary 2000 U.S. white rate of 5.7. Comparisons are made to the U.S. white rate because 100 percent of the Vermont resident infant deaths were to whites in 2000. The Vermont infant mortality rate steadily declined from 24.0 in 1960 to 5.8 per 1,000 live births in 1991. The rate fluctuated through the rest of the 90's.

Twenty-five (64 percent) of the infant deaths occurred during the neonatal period, that is, before the infant became 28 days old (Table D-3). The neonatal death rate was 3.8 deaths per 1,000 live births (Table D-5). The preliminary 2000 U.S. white neonatal death rate was 3.8. The Vermont neonatal death rate has decreased over the past four decades from 18.6 in 1960, to 14.4 in 1970, to 6.2 in 1980, to 3.6 in 1990 (Table A-1). The rate increased through the nineties to a high of 5.9 in 1998 before dropping to the lowest rate ever in Vermont: 3.2 in 1999.

The leading causes of infant deaths (Table D-9) are prematurity and related causes (8), SIDS (6), maternal complications (4), and complications of placenta, cord, and membranes (4), and congenital anomalies (3).

One of the most important risk factors in infant mortality is low birth weight. Of resident infants who died in 2000, 64.8 percent had a birth weight less than 2500 grams (5 pounds 8 ounces), while 6.1 percent of all resident births were low weight. The infant mortality rate for low weight births was 60.3 deaths per 1,000 live births. Age of mother is also related to infant mortality (Table D-5). From 1998 to 2000, the infant mortality rate for mothers 15 through 19 years of age was 12.0, for mothers age 20 through 24 the rate was 7.3, and for mothers 40 through 44 years the rate was 5.6. The youngest maternal age group also had the highest neonatal death rates at 9.5 for the 15-19 year olds.

 

FETAL DEATHS

Exchange of reports of fetal deaths and abortions among states is inconsistent. Therefore, statistics concerning these events reflect primarily occurrences within Vermont and may not necessarily reflect the true experience of Vermont residents.

There were 32 resident fetal deaths in 2000 (Table D-1) for a rate of 4.9 per 1,000 live births and fetal deaths, up from 4.4 per 1,000 live births and fetal deaths in 1999. Of the fetal deaths in Vermont, 66 percent weighed less than 2500 grams (Table D-7). From 1998 to 2000, the fetal death rates were highest in the two youngest age groups: 6.9 per 1,000 live births for women age 15 to 19, and 5.1 for women age 20 to 24 (Table D-5).

 

VERMONT ABORTIONS

There were 1,781 abortions performed in Vermont in 2000, the first increase in number from the previous year, since 1989 when 3,313 were performed. Vermont residents accounted for 1,474, or 82.8 percent. This represents a rate of 11.3 per 1,000 women age 15 to 44.

The abortion ratio is the number of resident abortions occurring in Vermont times 1,000, divided by the total resident live births. The abortion ratio for 2000 was 226.7 abortions per 1,000 live births, up from 221.6 in 1999. The most recent U.S. white abortion ratio available was 188 per 1,000 live births, in 1998.

Women age 20 to 24 had the highest age-specific abortion rate, 32.2 per 1,000 women, followed by women age 25 to 29 at 20.2. First trimester abortions accounted for 96 percent of all Vermont abortions and 63.7 percent of all Vermont abortions were for pregnancies of less than 9 weeks duration. See Appendix B for the method used to compute the number of weeks of gestation.

 

VERMONT RESIDENT PREGNANCIES

The pregnancy rate is derived by adding live births, fetal deaths and abortions. Due to non-reporting of out-of-state abortions and fetal deaths, as well as non-reporting of fetal deaths prior to 20 weeks of gestation, these rates represent underestimates of the actual number of pregnancies. The extent of these underestimations may differ among counties since residents of some counties may be more likely to use out-of-state services.

In 2000, the pregnancy rate in Vermont was 61.2 pregnancies per 1,000 women age 15 to 44 (Table F-1), compared to 61.4 in 1999, 77.1 in 1990, and 84.2 in 1980. The pregnancy rate peaked at 127.6 in 1960 and has dropped fairly steadily ever since (Table A-1).

The 2000 teen pregnancy rate was 37.2 pregnancies per 1,000 women age 15 to 19 years (Table F-1). This is down from 38.7 in 1999, and in general the teen pregnancy rate has been decreasing since 1991. In 2000, the highest pregnancy rate was seen in women 25 to 29 years of age at 119.6, followed by the 20 to 24 age group at 100.2. The lowest rate was for women age 35 to 44 at 25.3.

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