Alabama's Infant Mortality Rates up

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The Alabama Department of Public Health shows infant mortality rates are up.

While the rates are up, many of the accounting factors are going down.

Infant mortality for 2012 was 8.9 per 1,000 live births, up from 8.1 in 2011.

The rates account for infants who die before their first birthday.

But area pediatricians say the increase is surprising, because risk factors for infant mortality have continued to go down.

Risk factors that have seen a decrease include prematurity, teenage pregnancy and poor nutrition.

Pediatrician Ted Williams says he thinks the infant mortality rate will follow suit.

“I think the first year of life is the most vulnerable age. So if we have the highest or second highest infant mortality rate in the country in 2012 that means we have to sort of reassess how we approach nutrition health, prenatal care, immunizations everything in that first year of life," Williams said.

The percent of teenage births in 2012 was the lowest ever recorded in Alabama at 10.7.