Newborn babies and infants under 1 year of age have been among those to benefit most from advances in medical science and the efforts of public health agencies during the first half of this century. Reviewing the Baltimore City vital statistics reports at the beginning of the century, one finds that the infant mortality rate was approximately 200 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Simply stated, this means that in 1900 of every 100 babies delivered alive 20 failed to reach their first birthday. The loss of human life and wasted pregnancy occasioned by the existence of such a high infant mortality rate are difficult to comprehend. Principal causes of infant deaths in 1900 were diarrhea, pneumonia, acute communicable diseases, prematurity and congenital malformations. A review of present day records indicates that the infant mortality rate has decreased at an unbelievable rate and stands now at about 30 infant deaths
Taback M. BIRTH WEIGHT AND LENGTH OF GESTATION WITH RELATION TO PREMATURITY. JAMA. 1951;146(10):897–901. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670100017005
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