Improving Birth Outcomes

A mother holding a baby and smiling.

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) families see poorer birth outcomes than their white counterparts in Dane County. 

Infant mortality data

  • There are about 30 infant deaths and 25 stillbirths (fetal deaths) in Dane County each year and there are significant racial disparities in infant mortality. 
  • Black babies are more than twice as likely to pass away before their first birthday compared to all Dane County babies. 
  • Black babies are also more likely to pass away during pregnancy (be stillborn). 
  • Since 2016, Hispanic/Latinx infant mortality has more than doubled, and is higher than county-wide infant mortality. 

Disparities are rooted in systems of oppression

Local disparities in birth outcomes are rooted in systems of oppression and discrimination, like racism, classism, and colonialism. These systems of oppression show up in many ways for Black, Indigenous, and Hispanic/Latinx pregnant people – as food insecurity, unstable housing, less access to health care, language barriers, economic injustice, and chronic, toxic stress. All of these factors together contribute to poorer birth outcomes for BIPOC families in Dane County.

Learn more in our data reports

How we’re working to improve birth outcomes

Supporting pregnant people

Partnering to reduce disparities and improve outcomes

  • We coordinate the Dane County Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR), which works to find ways to prevent fetal and infant deaths. FIMR prioritizes Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) mortality cases. 
  • With funding from the Wisconsin Partnership Program, we partner with Roots4Change to promote health and wellness for Latino families and birthing people through development of culturally appropriate educational and perinatal services.
  • As a member of the Dane County Health Council, we support the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness Saving Our Babies initiative to expand the pool and presence of African American doulas and community health workers. 


  • We often use the terms “woman,” “women,” “maternal”, and female gendered pronouns “she” and “her” when discussing the perinatal population, pregnant people, and people who give birth. We are limited with word choice when it involves programs like the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Maternal Child Health (MCH). It is important to recognize that these populations include people who identify as women, and also do not identify as women, including some gender-diverse people and some transgender men. We acknowledge the existence and validity of all people along the sex, sexuality, and gender spectrums.
  • We recognize this as a barrier for our intended audience and may limit who researches and ultimately views/accesses this information. We also recognize this barrier in collecting and reporting data, as it limits community members from seeing themselves accounted for in the data. 
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