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INFANT DEATHS, FETAL DEATHS, ABORTIONS AND PREGNANCIES
In 1996, there were 48 resident infant deaths for a rate of 7.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Preliminary U.S. white data for 1996 indicate a rate of 6.0 per 1,000. Comparisons are made to the U.S. white rate because only 2.1 percent Vermont resident infant deaths were to non-whites in 1996. The Vermont infant mortality rate was 24.0 in 1960, declining to 17.6 in 1970, 10.9 in 1980, and 6.5 in 1990. The lowest infant mortality rate attained in Vermont was 5.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 1991.
Thirty-one (74.6 percent) of the infant deaths occurred during the neonatal period, that is before the infant became 28 days old. The neonatal death rate was 4.6 deaths per 1,000 live births, slightly higher than the 1995 rate of 4.3. The 1996 U.S. white neonatal death rate was 3.9. In 1980, the Vermont neonatal mortality rate was 6.2, 14.4 in 1970 and 18.6 in 1960.
The leading causes of infant mortality included congenital anomalies, complications due to prematurity and low birth weight, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
One of the most important risk factors in infant mortality is low birth weight. Of resident infants who died in 1996, 64.6 percent had a birth weight less than 2500 grams (5 pounds 8 ounces), while 6.2 percent of all resident births were low weight. The infant mortality rate for low weight births was 74.2 deaths per 1,000 live births. Age of mother is also related to infant mortality. From 1994 to 1996, the infant mortality rate for mothers 15 through 19 years of age was 6.8, for mothers age 20 through 24 the rate was 10.2, and for mothers 40 through 44 years the rate was 13.6. These maternal age groups also had the highest neonatal death rates at 5.7, 5.8 and 9.1, respectively.
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 28 resident fetal deaths in 1996 for a rate of 4.1 per 1,000 live births and fetal deaths compared to 3.5 per 1,000 live births and fetal deaths in 1995. The U.S. white fetal death rate was 6.1 in 1993. Of the fetal deaths in Vermont, 79.2 percent weighed less than 2500 grams. Higher rates of fetal deaths were seen in the youngest and oldest maternal age groups. From 1994 to 1996, the fetal death rate was 6.7 per 1,000 live births for women age 15 to 19, and the rate was 9.0 for women age 40 to 44.
The number of abortions in Vermont has been decreasing. There were 2,139 abortions performed in Vermont in 1996, and this number has dropped every year since 1989 when 3,313 abortions were performed. Vermont residents accounted for 1,691 or 79.1 percent of abortions that occurred in the state. This was a rate of 12.4 per 1,000 women aged 15 through 44, down from 13.0 in 1995. The abortion ratio for 1996 was 250.4 abortions per 1,000 live births, compared to 258.7 in 1995 and 236.5 in 1994. The abortion ratio for the U.S. white population was 236 in 1993. Comparisons are made to the U.S. white ratio because only 3.2 percent of Vermont resident abortions were to non-whites in 1996.
Women age 20 through 24 had the highest age-specific abortion rate, 30.3 per 1,000 women, followed by women age 15 to 19 at 18.9. First trimester abortions accounted for 95.9 percent of all Vermont abortions and 63.9 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.
In 1994 and 1995, not all abortions were reported. Additional records for these years have been received by the Department of Health, and the data for these years are now complete. Corrected copies of all the 1994 and 1995 abortion and pregnancy tables appearing in the bulletin are available upon request.
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 1996, the pregnancy rate in Vermont was 62.7 pregnancies per 1,000 women age 15 to 44, compared to 63.4 in 1995, 77.1 in 1990, and 84.0 in 1980. The pregnancy rate peaked at 127.6 in 1960 and has dropped fairly steadily ever since.
The 1996 teen pregnancy rate was 49.0 pregnancies per 1,000 women age 15 to 19 years. This is a slight increase from 1995, but in general the teen pregnancy rate has been decreasing since 1991. In 1996, the highest pregnancy rate was seen in women 20 to 24 years of age at 112.4, followed closely by the 25 through 29 age group at 105.7. The lowest rate was for women age 35 to 44 at 22.9.
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