The Michigan League of Human Services released its annual Kids Count in Michigan report, which looks at pregnancy, birth and maternal trends. According to Michigan Radio, Kids Count found although there are areas where progress has been made, there are other gaps in maternal risk factors and infant health in Michigan.
* The study researched several maternal factors. It compared data on infants, looking for those with low-birthweight (less than 5.5 pounds) or born preterm (before 37 weeks gestation).
* The study found from 2000 to 2010, some improvement was made in several areas. Seven percent fewer babies were born preterm. Teen pregnancy dropped 10 percent. And repeat teen pregnancies decreased 15 percent.
* According to Michigan Radio, Kids Count of Michigan project director Jane Zehnder Merrell says "one of the indicators that is of most concern is the 7 percent increase in low-birthweight because that is what drives infant mortality particularly in the African-American community." Black infants were twice as likely to be born too small, compared to Hispanic and white infants.
* Kids Count says infants born too small have a greater chance of dying before their first birthday. Those that survive have are at risk for "developmental delays, particularly neurodevelopmental problems, and chronic disease."
* Kids Count found a 22 percent jump in births to unwed mothers. 41 percent of babies were born to single mothers in 2010.
* According to the MLHS, there is a big difference in infant and maternal well-being among Michigan counties.
Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben writes about people, places, events and issues in her home state of "Pure Michigan."
- Family Health