Mississippi babies are more likely to die before their first birthday than infants anywhere else in the country. Mississippi has the highest preterm birth rate and the lowest birth weight rate in America, and one of every seven babies born here are preterm. Black babies are twice as likely to die as their white counterparts in Mississippi. Mothers who give birth in Mississippi are more likely to die here than in 45 other states, with a pregnancy-related mortality rate nearly double the national average. A whopping 86% of pregnancy-related deaths occur postpartum, including 37% after six weeks. Black women are three times likelier than white women to die of a pregnancy-related cause. These numbers are made worse because of the state’s high rates of poverty and uninsured people. Across Mississippi, about 65% of babies are born to mothers on Medicaid. Because of lag times in getting approved for coverage and a 60-day cutoff of postpartum care coverage, mothers often do not receive the prenatal and postpartum care they need — care that could prevent major problems.
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