A recent analysis of deaths of Solano County babies in the first year of life reveals that the two leading preventable causes of infant deaths are babies being born too small and too soon, and deaths related to unsafe sleeping, including babies who die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
While the causes of prematurity are not completely understood, several known risk factors include mothers who entered prenatal care late or had no prenatal care at all, and mothers who smoked or had secondhand smoke exposure, officials said.

"Smoking nearly doubles a woman's risk of having a low birthweight baby," said Nancy Calvo, Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health administrator. "We also need to address chronic health problems during pregnancy." Women who were obese, diabetic, had high blood pressure or other health problems during pregnancy were more likely to have a baby die, she noted.

Infants who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome had risk factors which included sleeping face down versus the recommended placement on their back and/or sharing a bed space with adults or children.

The report, known as the Fetal Infant Mortality Review, examined data from death certificates, medical charts and interviews with mothers. The study showed local infant mortality rates have not changed much since 2002, and are still too high when compared to national benchmarks. For example, the national Healthy People 2010 objectives set a goal of 4.5 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, but
for the years 2006 through 2008 the Solano County average was 6.0 deaths per 1,000 live births. Compared to Caucasian infants, African American babies were nearly twice as likely to die in their first year.
"In just three years in our county, from 2006 to 2008, we had over 100 babies die before their first birthday, and many of these tragedies can be prevented," said Calvo, adding that women can give their babies the best start by planning their pregnancies and taking good care of their health before and during pregnancy.

For the full report, visit http://www.solanocounty.com/.