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Low Birth Weight and Perinatal Mortality
Gunnar af Geijerstam
Public Health Reports (1896-1970)
Vol. 84, No. 11 (Nov., 1969), pp. 939-948
Published by: Association of Schools of Public Health
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4593720
Page Count: 10
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An analysis of Swedish data on incidence and mortality of low-birth-weight infants and a comparison with available U.S. statistics indicates that the higher U.S. infant and perinatal mortality is caused mainly by a higher proportion of low-weight births. Possible reasons for Sweden's more favorable position in this regard may be found in its lower birth rate, its homogeneous population which has no under-privileged minority groups, its social welfare system and compulsory health and sickness insurance, and its well-developed and highly specialized prenatal and maternity care. All prenatal, delivery, and postnatal services are provided free of charge to everyone as a part of the general health insurance. A screening system is used to detect women at risk for premature birth or other obstetrical complications so that they may be given specialized prenatal and delivery care. As a probable result, 75 percent of all Swedish children--but 80 percent of the prematures--are born in maternity hospitals or hospital departments which have obstetrical specialists. The resources of a modern hospital are not immediately available for less than 1 percent of all pregnant women.
Public Health Reports (1896-1970) © 1969 Association of Schools of Public Health