How many babies die each year ?

When I speak to groups of Nursing Students, I almost always ask them “How many babies die in the US each year?”  I always get looks of confused befuddlement…then I give them a clue…”its a trick question”. After they give up or toss out some random numbers, I tell them “its a trick question because our society does not have a shared consensus on the definition of the word ‘baby’ “.

Acknowledging that the definitions involved in this overlaps with abortion issues, I often see momentary panic on the students face, but then I tell them “abortion is important, its big. powerful topic, but lets set it aside for now and recognize that we’re talking about naturally occurring death.” Calm returns to their faces.

From conception to 20 weeks gestation, in the US every year there are about 900,000 losses in the US. People like to dismiss them as “just miscarriages” but there are so many reasons why it is a big deal. Add to that the fact that 20 weekers are  fully formed and   see my post on “Miscarriage and stillbirth”.

From 20 weeks to 40 weeks gestation, there are an average of 25,000 naturally occurring deaths each year in the US.

In the first 28 days of life, there are and average of 25,000  naturally occurring deaths each year in the US.

In addition, 3000-5000 babies die of SIDS

So, define “baby” as you wish (Im Roman Catholic, so I would use the word “baby” for all of them)  there are 950,000 naturally occurring deaths in pregnancy and the neonatal period each year. Have you ever seen a TV show on this?

I find the media black-out on this topic mind – boggling.

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