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Risk Factors for Sudden Infant Death Vary by Time of Death

Risk factors for death within first week different than for death later in the first month

TUESDAY, Nov. 1, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) in the first week has different risk factors than SUID later in the first month, according to a study published online Oct. 4 in the Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine.

Thomas Hegyi, M.D., and Barbara M. Ostfeld, Ph.D., from the Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, New Jersey, compared SUID risk factors in the first week versus the remainder in the first month of life. The analysis included data from New Jersey for SUID from 2000 to 2015 in infants ≥34 weeks of gestational age.

The researchers found that 123 infants died in the first 27 days, including 24 before seven days. There was a higher risk for death in the first week for mothers with post-high school education (odds ratio, 3.50) and a primary cesarean section delivery (odds ratio, 4.0). Risk was lower with inadequate prenatal care (odds ratio, 0.36). A trend was seen toward a lower risk for first-week deaths among mothers who smoked during pregnancy or identified as Black, non-Hispanic.

“When it comes to risk factors for SUID in the first year of life, one size may not [fit] all,” Ostfeld said in a statement. “In our study, some of the more common social and health risk factors associated with SUID were less evident in the first week.”

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