1. Improving Birth Outcomes

  2. What’s the Story?

    Birth defects and low birth weight are the two leading causes of infant death in New Jersey. Many factors contribute to adverse birth outcomes including:

    • nutrition,
    • quality of prenatal care,
    • medical problems,
    • infections,
    • use of cigarettes, alcohol, and other substances,
    • mother's age,
    • obesity,
    • stress,
    • violence, and
    • poverty.

    There are many ways to improve pregnancy outcomes including decreased prenatal cigarette smoking and improved patient-family centered perinatal care.

  3. By the Numbers

    The infant mortality rate has steadily declined, decreasing significantly from 6.3 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2000, to 4.8 in 2015.  Low birth weight and birth defects have been the two leading causes of infant death since 1990.  The infant death rate is significantly higher among Blacks (9.7) compared to Whites (3.0), but while disparities exist, it should be noted that all racial and ethnic groups have experienced decreases since 2000, with the White rate having decreased 23% from 3.9 in 2000 to 3.0 in 2015 and the Black rate having decreased 27% from 13.2 in 2000 to 9.7 in 2015.    

  4. Our Strategy

    The Department of Health funded the Improving Birth Outcomes Initiative to reduce preterm birth rates in the state and to ensure more newborns have a healthy start to life.

    Collaborative DOH efforts include: providing $13.5 million in grants to community health centers, maternal and child health consortia, local health departments and social services agencies to enroll women into care; supporting the Mom's Quit Connection (MQC) which provides free counseling services and support for pregnant women and new mothers trying to quit smoking; and supporting the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative aimed at improving maternity care practices and policies in support of breastfeeding.

    Under the Maternal Child Health (MCH) block grant, the DOH will be teaming up with the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Education to fund Central Intake which is a program that will facilitate the referral process from providers and match families with the appropriate home visiting program and/or family support services.  By processing all referrals through a single agency in each county, the State will increase coordination between programs, limit the duplication of services, and improve the utilization of available resources.

  5. Did You Know?

    Approximately 50% of NJ mothers who quit smoking during pregnancy relapsed after delivery.

  6. To Learn More


Progress Toward Goal


Progress Toward Goal

* Rate per 100,000 population

Only one year of data currently available

Exceeding Goal
At/Making progress toward Goal
Making less progress toward Goal than expected
Not progressing toward Goal
Negative progression toward Goal

Last Reviewed: 5/9/2018