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Infant death is hard to understand. It can bring anger, pain, sadness, and confusion. And, experts still don't understand all the causes of infant death. Some of the causes include:
African-Americans have over twice the rate of infant deaths as whites. African-American infants are also four times more likely to die due to complications related to low birth weight than white babies. Plus, African-American infants have the second highest rates of SIDS.
Although we don't always know the reasons why some babies die, we do know steps a woman can take to lower her baby's risk of health problems and infant death. These steps begin before you even become pregnant. Before pregnancy, talk to your doctor about:
Your health before pregnancy is called preconception health. It means knowing how health conditions and risk factors could affect you or your unborn baby if you become pregnant. By taking action on health issues and risks before pregnancy, you can lower the risk of problems that might affect you or your baby later.
During pregnancy, regular prenatal care also will help keep you and your baby healthy. See your doctor as soon as you know you are pregnant. Don't drink alcohol, smoke, or use drugs, which can harm your unborn baby. Only use medicines your doctor says are okay.
Once your baby is born, you and anyone who cares for your baby can take these steps to lower the risk of SIDS:
Content last updated May 18, 2010.
Resources last updated May 18, 2010.