A healthy pregnancy leading to a healthy birth is the first gateway to a life of opportunity. A baby who is born healthy is likely to enjoy more opportunities in life than one not born healthy.
A healthy birth sets the stage for a healthy and stimulating infancy – a crucial time for a new baby to develop physically, mentally and emotionally into a curious and energetic young child ready to absorb all the world has to offer.
An unhealthy birth can be a major barrier in a baby’s life, often delaying development and leading to life-long challenges.
This is particularly true of unhealthy births to parents of limited means – parents who do not have the financial capacity to gain access to adequate health and developmental care in the critical months following birth.
In the 2005 State of Opportunity Report, we chose four key indicators to measure how well Colorado’s babies are making it through this first essential gateway.
Indicator 1: Low birth-weight babies
Babies who weigh less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces at birth are more likely to have health complications, at birth and later in life.
Indicator 2: Access to prenatal care
Women who receive prenatal care in the first trimester of a pregnancy are more likely to give birth to healthy babies.
Indicator 3: Teen pregnancies
Teenage girls are more likely than women in their 20s and 30s to encounter complications during pregnancy and at birth.
Indicator 4: Smoking during pregnancy
Women who smoke during pregnancy are at greater risk for premature birth, low birth-weight babies, stillbirth, infant mortality, and other complications.