What is Neonatal Death?- Causes Of Neonatal Death

When a baby dies in the first month of life, it is known as neonatal death. In the year 2002, in United States, nearly 19,000 babies died in the first month of life. Most parents who experience neonatal deaths have many questions in their mind. Understanding the causes may help in healing from such an experience for parents and family.

Causes of Neonatal Deaths:

Premature Birth:

Often neonatal deaths are caused by premature births. 30% of neonatal deaths are caused by the prematurity and its complications. The earlier the baby is born, the more chances for the baby to die. Approximately 20 – 35% of babies born at about23 weeks of pregnancy survive; approximately 50 – 70% of babies born at about 24 – 25 weeks of pregnancy survive, and greater than 90% of babies born at about 26 – 27 weeks of pregnancy survive.

Nearly 12% babies are prematurely born. The reasons for premature delivery are still unknown. In a few cases, a pregnant woman may have some health problems like high blood pressure or pregnancy complications like placental problems. These issues increase the risk for premature delivery.

Premature babies, particularly those born at or fewer than 32 pregnant weeks and those who weigh less than 3 1/3 pounds, may develop RDS (respiratory distress syndrome). Approximately 23,000 babies develop this syndrome every year. About 21% of neonatal deaths are caused by the birth defects. Birth defect babies may be full-term or premature.

Sometimes, premature babies develop intestinal problems known as “necrotizing enterocolitis”. Antibiotics and surgery help to treat this problem. Some babies, however, develop severe damage in the bowels and do not survive.

Other Causes for Neonatal Deaths

  • Complications that involve umbilical cord, membranes, and placenta.
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Asphyxia: This refers to lack of oxygen during or before birth
  • Infections

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