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Child Health USA 2013 An illustrated collection of current and historical data, published annually.

Infant Morbidity

Narrative

Morbidity is a measure of disease, illness or injury within a population. Like infant mortality, conditions resulting from prematurity and low birth weight are strongly associated with infant morbidity.1,2 Infant morbidity can be measured by the presence of diagnosed conditions, such as respiratory distress and hyperbilirubinemia (or jaundice), as well as by service utilization indicators, including admission to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and length of hospital stay.3

In 2009-2010, 12.1 percent of infants in a 30-state area were reported to have been admitted to a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). A NICU is a department within the hospital that provides constant, specialized care for infants who are born sick, prematurely and/or at a very low birth weight. Not all hospitals have a NICU. NICU admission varied by maternal characteristics. NICU admission was lowest among infants born to mothers with 16 or more years of education (10.7 percent, compared to 12.9 percent of infants born to mothers with less than 12 years of education and approximately 12.5 percent of those born to mothers with 12 to 15 years of education; data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site). Rates of NICU admission were highest among infants born to non-Hispanic Black mothers, with one-sixth (15.5 percent) having been admitted to the NICU, compared to 11.6 percent of infants born to non-Hispanic White mothers, 12.6 percent born to Hispanic mothers, and 12.8 percent born to non-Hispanic Asian mothers.

In 2009-2010, more than 7 percent of infants stayed in the hospital for 6 or more days. The proportion of infants with the longest hospital stays varied by maternal age, education, and race/ethnicity factors. Infants born to mothers aged 35 years and older were more likely to have a stay of this duration than those born to mothers aged 20-34 years, as were infants born to mothers with less education and infants born to non-Hispanic Black mothers. For example, 8.4 percent of infants born to mothers with 12 years of education had long hospital stays of six or more days, compared to 5.6 percent of those born to mothers with 16 or more years of education (data not shown in graph images or in data tables on this site).

1 Teune MJ, Bakhuizen S, Gyamfi Bannerman C, Opmeer BC, van Kaam AH, van Wassenaer AG, et al. A systematic review of severe morbidity in infants born late preterm. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2011;205(4):374.e1–9. 2011.

2 Fanaroff AA, Stoll BJ, Wright LL, Carlo WA, Ehrenkranz RA, Stark AR, et al. Trends in neonatal morbidity and mortality for very low birthweight infants. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2007;196(2):147e1-8. 2007.

3 Shapiro-Mendoza CK, Tomashek KM, Kotelchuck M, Barfield W, Nannini A, Weiss J, Declercq E. Effect of late-preterm birth and maternal medical conditions on newborn morbidity risk. Pediatrics. 2008 Feb;121(2):e223-32. doi: 10.1542/peds.2006-3629.

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Graphs

This image is described in the Data section.

nicu admission by race graph

This image is described in the Data section.

hospital stay by age graph

Data

NICU Admission, by Race/Ethnicity, 2009-2010*

Percent of Infants:

  • Non-Hispanic White 11.6
  • Non-Hispanic Black 15.5
  • Hispanic 12.6
  • Non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native 11.0
  • Non-Hispanic Asian 12.8
  • Non-Hispanic Asian/Pacific Islander 10.8
  • Non-Hispanic Multiple Race 11.7
  • Total 12.1

*Includes data from a total of 30 states and New York City; 25 states contributed both years. Mothers completed surveys between 2 and 9 months postpartum.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, 2009-2010. Analysis conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Hospital Length of Stay, by Maternal Age, 2009-2010*
Age of Mother Percent of Infants Staying Less Than 1 Day Percent of Infants Staying 1-2 Days Percent of Infants Staying 3-5 Days Percent of Infants Staying 6 Days or More
*Includes data from a total of 30 states and New York City; 25 states contributed both years. Mothers completed surveys between 2 and 9 months postpartum.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, 2009-2010. Analysis conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
19 Years or Younger 4.8 56.8 30.6 7.8
20-24 Years 3.8 61.8 27.6 6.8
25-29 Years 3.4 61.4 28.5 6.8
30-34 Years 3.5 58.7 30.9 6.9
35 Years or Older 2.7 54.1 35.3 7.9
Total All Ages (May not equal 100 due to rounding.) 3.6 59.4 30.0 7.1