In an ideal society, all babies should be born after a full-term pregnancy that is safe for both the mother and infant, and they should be positioned to thrive as their new lives begin. As young families are dependent on resources provided by their community, illness and death during infancy should be extremely rare.
Public Health researchers use data from both birth records and death records to keep track of the health of communities. There are four main categories of indicators that they use:
- Interruption of pregnancy, which may occur spontaneously or be medically induced when the health of the mother or her baby is threatened
- Reduced growth of the fetus during pregnancy
- Death any time during the first year of life
- Outcomes not directly related to health but that may reflect conditions in a community, such as fertility rates and sex ratios at birth.
To track maternal and infant health in California residents we display information on ten indicators related to maternal and infant health including preterm birth, low-birth weight and more. We receive this data from the Center for Health Statistics and Informatics of the Department of Public Health, who collects this data from birth registrars across California.