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Study reveals correlation between infant mortality rate and health insurance

A doctor uses a hand-held Doppler probe on a pregnant woman to measure the heartbeat of the fetus.
Rogelio V. Solis
A doctor uses a hand-held Doppler probe on a pregnant woman to measure the heartbeat of the fetus.

A study from the American Medical Association finds a correlation between the country’s infant mortality rate, and what kind of insurance the mother has.

Infants born to mothers with private insurance had a lower risk of mortality than those born to mothers on Medicaid. They also were at lower risk for premature birth, low birth weight, breech delivery and more.

Dr. Monique De Four Jones is associate chief of Labor and Delivery at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center. She said the data is not shocking, given New York's maternal mortality rate.

“It’s not a surprising study, because they sort of, kind of go hand-in-hand. If we have to deliver mommies premature for whatever comorbidities, those are the risks that we give to our infants, as well.”

She said the health system is working at the local level to address these issues.

“We are going out into the community, we’re addressing the social determinants of health, we’re addressing a number of comorbidities early," she said. "We’re counseling on diabetes, hypertension, giving access to aspirin early, providing education. And that has been extremely helpful.”

De Fur Jones said she was, however, surprised by the number of infants lost in the post-neonatal time frame, meaning around 30 days following delivery.

New York has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the country, especially among Black women, and in New York City.

Sabrina is host and producer of WSHU’s daily podcast After All Things. She also produces the climate podcast Higher Ground and other long-form news and music programs at the station. Sabrina spent two years as a WSHU fellow, working as a reporter and assisting with production of The Full Story.