Environmental Public Health Tracking: Birth Outcomes Data

Reproduction is complex, and many factors affect the parents’ ability to make a baby, carry the baby to term, and deliver the baby without complications.

These factors include age, genetics, income/education level, and many others.

Reproductive outcomes, also called birth outcomes, refer to how a baby is conceived, carried to term, and delivered.

The Wisconsin Tracking Program hosts data on six types of reproductive outcomes:

Access the birth outcomes data

 

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In the section below, there are frequently asked questions about reproductive outcomes in general. On each specific outcome’s page, there are frequently asked questions about that type of reproductive outcome.

What is reproductive health?

Reproductive health refers to health status of reproductive processes, functions, and systems. Reproductive health includes the diseases, disorders, and conditions that affect the functioning of the male and female reproductive systems during reproductive age.

Reproductive health is influenced by many factors, including:

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Medical history/overall health
  • Income/education level
  • Health behaviors
  • Access to medical care
  • Environmental exposures

What are birth outcomes?

Reproductive outcomes, also called reproductive health outcomes or birth outcomes, include disorders that happen as a result of poor reproductive health including birth defects, developmental disorders, fetal growth restriction, low birth weight, preterm birth, reduced fertility/infertility, impotence, and menstrual disorders.

How are birth outcomes related to the environment?

Wisconsin Tracking hosts data on various measures of birth outcomes and infant deaths to explore changes in reproductive health outcomes over time and place. Studying these trends may provide clues about how environmental factors affect reproductive health.

Reproduction is a complex process. Exposure to chemicals in the environment can affect the ability to have babies. These exposures can also affect proper growth and development of babies before and after they are born.

Environmental toxins may be especially harmful to babies while they are still in their mother’s uterus. For example, mercury exposure can cause birth defects and brain disorders in babies born to mothers who eat large amounts of mercury-rich fish. While the effects of some environmental exposures are known, many questions remain unanswered.

Both the male and female reproductive systems play a role in pregnancy. Problems with these systems can affect fertility and the ability to have children. Reproductive problems occur in both men and women. Learn more about reproductive health on the CDC's Reproductive Health page.

What is the data source?

Wisconsin Tracking hosts data from the statistical resident birth and death files, maintained by the Wisconsin Vital Records Office of the Office of Health Informatics (OHI) at the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. OHI also provides reproductive outcomes data on the Wisconsin Interactive Statistics on Health (WISH) database and in statistical reports.

Which measures does Wisconsin Tracking have for birth outcomes?

There are several terms in this section related to birth, like post-neonatal, low birth weight, etc. Consult the glossary of terms for definitions of these terms.

Note: the term “singleton” refers to singly born babies. In other words, singleton babies were not part of a set of twins, triplets, etc.

  • Prematurity
    • Annual percent of singleton premature babies, by county, gender, age, and race
    • Annual count of singleton premature babies, by county, gender, age, and race
    • Annual percent of singleton very premature babies, by county, gender, age, and race
    • Annual count of singleton very premature babies, by count, gender, age, and race
  • Low Birth Weight
    • Annual percent of low birth weight babies, by gender, age, and race
    • Annual percent of singleton low birth weight babies, by gender, age, and race
    • Annual percent of low birth weight babies by county
    • Annual percent of singleton low birth weight babies by county
  • Birth Rate
    • Annual birth rate per 1,000 babies, by county, gender, age, and race
    • Annual singleton birth count, by county, gender, age, and race
    • Annual singleton birth rate per 1,000 babies, by county, gender, age, and race
    • Annual total birth count, by county, gender, age, and race
  • Infant Mortality
    • Annual infant mortality rate per 1,000 babies, by county, gender, age, and race
    • Annual perinatal mortality rate per 1,000 babies by county
    • Annual perinatal mortality counts by county
    • Multi-year neonatal mortality rate per 1,000 babies, by county, gender, age, and race
    • Multi-year neonatal mortality count of babies, by county, gender, age, and race
    • Annual neonatal mortality rate per 1,000 babies by county
    • Annual neonatal mortality count of babies by county
    • Multi-year post-neonatal mortality rate per 1,000 babies, by county, gender, age, and race
    • Multi-year post-neonatal mortality count of babies, by county, gender, age, and race
  • Fertility and Infertility
    • Annual total fertility rate by county
  • Sex Ratio
    • Annual singleton sex ratio by county

What are some considerations for interpreting the data?

  • Wisconsin Vital Records has cooperative exchange procedures in place to get data on Wisconsin residents born in other states. However, it is possible not all other states have provided complete information at the time the report was created. The numbers are likely quite small and probably have limited impact on the measures provided from the portal.
  • The measures are based on responses recorded on birth certificates.
  • Data users should keep in mind that many factors contribute to a disease. These factors should be considered when interpreting the data. Factors include:
    • Demographics (race, gender, age)
    • Socioeconomic status (income level, education)
    • Geography (rural, urban)
    • Changes in the medical field (diagnosis patterns, reporting requirements)
    • Individual behavior (diet, smoking)

Where can I learn more about reproductive outcomes?

Last Revised: September 14, 2020