ONGOING COLUMNS: Perinatal Patient Safety Column
Trends in Natality Data in the United States
There are a number of important resources to help nurses stay up-to-date on natality trends in the United States. Key data are presented with highlights on changes in the data from 2017 to 2018 collected from birth certificates. In 2018, compared to 2017, there were fewer births, teen births, cesareans, births of multiples, and more preterm births, labor inductions, and births attended by certified nurse midwives. The day and month with highest number of births remain Thursday and August, while Sunday and February are still the day and month with the lowest number of births.
At the end of November, 2019, the National Center for Health Statistics published final natality data for 2018 (Martin, Hamilton, Osterman, & Driscoll, 2019). As a perinatal clinical nurse specialist, I have participated in many meetings during which data and trends have been mentioned (sometimes inaccurately), and used to make policy and clinical decisions. It is important for maternity and pediatric nurses to be aware of how to immediately access these types of data to contribute to the decision-making in real time. Once iPad and laptop use by hospital leaders became ubiquitous in meetings, I found I was able to locate data almost instantly, with knowledge of where to find it. United States natality data, including state-specific data, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics (2020) are very useful, as is cost and use of clinical services from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (2020). Accurate data are an important aspect of promoting patient safety.
Highlights of the final natality data for 2018 (Martin et al., 2019) are included in the table. As a supplement to the published data are internet tables that offer much more detail. I encourage you to become familiar with these types of resources.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. (2020). HCUP Statistical Briefs
[Website]. Retrieved from https://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sbtopic.jsp
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. (2020). Birth data
[Website]. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/births.htm?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fnchs%2Fbirths.htm
Copyright © 2020 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved
Martin J. A., Hamilton B. E., Osterman M. J. K., Driscoll A. K. (2019). Births: Final data for 2018. National Vital Statistics Reports
, 68(13), 1–47. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr68/nvsr68_13-508.pdf