Birth is a complex and wonderful process and fortunately, the birth outcome for most women is a full term and healthy baby. The fetus is developing along with critical organ systems during pregnancy. There are critical windows during the development when environmental exposures could damage the fetal growth and function. We know some risk factors and others need more research. For example, smoking during pregnancy slows a baby's growth while it is in the womb.
You can learn basic facts about birth, pregnancy, and reproductive outcomes and birth defects from (external Web sites):
These resources can also be helpful to find out what you can do to protect yourself from environmental exposures during pregnancy.
In New Mexico we are tracking both reproductive outcomes and birth defects.
In New Mexico, we track the following reproductive outcomes: percent of low birth weight full term births, percent of very low birth weight births, percent of preterm births, percent of very preterm births, sex ratio at birth, infant mortality, neonatal mortality, perinatal mortality, post-neonatal mortality, and total fertility. Currently presented are data for low birth-weight and preterm births.
There are several adverse birth outcomes that have environmental factors as one of many possible causes. The New Mexico Department of Health provides a data query system of some of these birth outcomes in our Indicator Based Information System for Public Health (NM-IBIS). This site provides access to public health data sets and information on New Mexico's priority health issues, including fertility and birth outcomes. The birth certificate section of the NM-IBIS Web site provides custom queries of selected publicly available health data. Two of these birth outcomes have been presented in our Environmental Public Health Tracking site: low birth weight and pre-term births. For additional queries on these two outcomes, as well as others, please refer to NM-IBIS, http://ibis.health.state.nm.us/home/Welcome.html (external Web site).
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