U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Reproductive Health

From 2002 to 2004, there were an average of 123,116 live births per year in the U.S. border region. These births accounted for about 3.1 percent of total U.S. births during this period. The percentage of infants born at low and very low birth weight was lower in the U.S. border region than in the United States as a whole. Nearly 6.9 percent of infants born in the border region in 2002–2004 had a low birth weight (less than 2,500 grams), compared to 7.97 percent of infants born in the United States. Similarly, 1.09 percent of infants in the border region were born at a very low birth weight (less than 1,500 grams), compared to 1.47 percent of infants in the United States.

The percentage of live births delivered by cesarean section in 2002–2004 was slightly higher in the border region than in the United States overall (29.8 versus 27.4 percent, respectively). The percentage of births to teen mothers was also higher in the border region than in the United States as a whole (5.01 versus 3.45 percent, respectively; data not shown).

Gestational diabetes (occurring only during pregnancy) can pose health risks to a mother and her baby and women with the condition are at increased risk for developing diabetes later in life.1 In 2002, women giving birth in the U.S. border region were less likely to have had gestational diabetes than women in the U.S. population (2.44 versus 3.31 percent, respectively). Severe hypertension during pregnancy can result in preeclampsia, fetal growth restriction, premature birth, placental abruption, and stillbirth.2 In 2002, women giving birth in the border region were also less likely to have pregnancy-induced hypertension than women in the United States as a whole (2.05 versus 3.83 percent, respectively).

1 American Diabetes Association. Gestational Diabetes.http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/gestational/?loc=db-slabnav, accessed 03/03/09.
2 U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Evidence Report/Technology Assessment Number 14: Management of chronic hypertension during pregnancy. Publication #00E011; Aug 2000.

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