New study says Alabama is second-worst state for having a baby
According to a study from WalletHub, Alabama is the second-worst state for having a baby.
The study measured costs associated with childbirth, access to healthcare, and baby-friendliness.
The study found Alabama measured below average in several areas:
- 45th in infant mortality rate
- 48th in the rate of low birth weights
- 39th in midwives and OBGYNs per capita
- 46th in pediatricians and family doctors per capita
- 43rd in parental leave policies
Alabama ranked 39th in cost, 47th in healthcare, 51st in Baby-friendliness, and 46th in family-friendliness.
The study focused on four key rankings to determine an overall ranking for each state and Washington, D.C.:
- Cost, which includes delivery, early childhood care, health insurance, babysitters, and newborn screening
- Healthcare, which includes statistics such as infant mortality rate, maternal mortality ratio, and rates of low birth rate and preterm births
- Baby-friendliness, which includes parental leave policies, mom groups per capita, child-care centers per capita, and share of nationally accredited child-care centers
- Family-friendliness, which was based on rankings from a previous WalletHub study on Best and Worst States to Raise a Family.
Combined, the rankings placed Alabama 50th out of all 50 states plus the District of Columbia for raising a baby. Only Mississippi ranked lower.
Low birth weight, infant mortality continue to be problems in Alabama
When it comes to our children we want the very best. That’s why nonprofits like the national children’s advocacy center were alarmed by the findings of the Wallet Hub study.
“It’s tragic. It’s sad. This is not something our state wants to be known for,” said Pam Clasgens, community outreach director, National Children’s Advocacy Center.
According to the study, Alabama ranked 39th out of 51 in the area for cost. In the study’s ranking, the lower the rank, the better the score.
“Cesarian and conventional delivery charges are a little bit lower than they are in most other states the same can be said for the cost of early childcare,” said Jill Gonzalez, analyst, Wallet Hub.
But an analyst from wallet hub says the state did not fare well when it came to outcomes.
“A higher rate of low birth rate, high rate of preterm birth, a higher infant and maternal mortality ratio,” said Gonzalez.
In 2017 there were 58,936 births and 435 infant deaths according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.
It’s something the NCAC is aware of.
“We have prevention programs that we offer here in madison county. Healthy families North Alabama is the home visitation program for first-time parents and low-income parents to help get their children off to the best possible start,” Clasgens said.
According to statistics from the Alabama Department of Public Health, the leading causes of infant mortality are SIDS, being pre-term or low birth weight, and congenital anomalies.
The state’s fetal and infant mortality review program began in 2009. It reviews infant deaths to identify factors. This year the Department of Public Health received enough funding to review all infant deaths in the state.
According to the most recent statistics from the Department of Public Health, the infant mortality rate decreased across the state from 2016 to 2017.