Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Major

Nursing - Accelerated Option

Research Sponsor

Dr. Christine Graor

First Reader

Debra Horning

Second Reader

Lisa Ritenour

Abstract

Infant mortality rate (IMR) is defined as the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Infant mortality is the time period beginning with the infant’s first breath and continuing until the first year of life. In 2006, 6.71 infants died in The United States of America (USA) for every 1,000 live births, compared with 6.86 in 2005 and 6.89 in 2000. Although the USA IMR has fallen steadily in recent decades, the nation still ranks 27th among industrialized countries. Further, IMR disproportionately affects racial and ethnic groups in the USA. Despite research about prevalence, predictors, interventions, and major efforts over the last decade, IMR has decreased slightly. The PICOT question in this review is as follows: Do interventions aimed towards at-risk mothers and infants reduce infant mortality during their first year of life in the United States? Risk factors and interventions focus on preventative prenatal care and postpartum education and care. This systematic review discusses and critically appraises research by experts who have evaluated the effectiveness of interventions to reduce rates. Based on the appraisal of peer-reviewed publications about IMR interventions, advanced practice and research recommendations have shown to reduce the rate of infant mortality. Recommendations include continuing research into areas such as inter-birth spacing and the efficacy of centering groups among women of similar gestation and resources. Based on the research evaluated, practice recommendations focus on patient outreach and education for those of low socioeconomic status. Safe sleep education is crucial to new mothers and women with infants. Education for adolescent women should focus on the importance of contraceptive use, health risks associated with smoking and substance use while pregnant, and utilization of health screenings before and during gestation. Having this information at an early age and early into pregnancy, women may develop confidence in making healthy choices as they progress towards motherhood.

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