Out & About

It’s like giving birth

Tooling around the Internet, I stumbled upon a business called EHDP that sells software programs that have compiled health-related data from public records. They’ve put the California version of the VitalNet birth data software online so potential buyers can try it out.

That makes for an interesting exercise, since the searchable data can be sorted in hundreds of different ways. The creepiest thing was that there’s a birth-to-age-9 category for females who’ve given birth, and between 1989 and 1999 two did so.

Here’s some more data gleaned from playing with various pull-down menus at http://www.ehdp.com/birtha/.

• The Caesarean rate in Butte County was 17.9 for every 100 births, compared to 21.6 statewide. The ethnic group with the highest Caesarean rate was American Indians, at 20.2, while the rate for Asian mothers was only 8.4.

• Of the 27,274 babies born in the county between 1989 and 1999, more were boys than girls: 13,998 vs. 13,276.

• Married women accounted for 18,825 of the births, while 8,447 of the mothers were single.

• There were 637 sets of twins born, four sets of triplets and four sets of quadruplets.

• The software can sort by “age of mom” and “age of dad.” Most moms were in their 20s, although four babies were born to females aged 10-12 and 86 to those 13-14. Eight of the mothers were 50 or older, and 40 were 45-49. Most fathers were also in their 20s, but the men kept going later: 107 dads were 50-54, 43 were 55-59, 19 were 60-64, six were 65-69, and one Viagra-chomping pop was between 70 and 74 years old.

• Low-birth-weight babies were tabulated. Of all births, 5.2 percent, or 1,431 babies, weighed in at less than 5.5 pounds. Another 206 babies weighed less than 3.3 pounds. Also, 2,680 babies were born before reaching 36 weeks’ gestation.

• Only 37 births were medically unattended. There were 263 births in which the mother received no prenatal care.

• The program says 5,487 of the deliveries were paid for with private insurance and 1,087 though an HMO or PPP, while 15,173 were attributed to Medi-Cal.

• Most of the parents had graduated from high school.

• The most babies were born in 1990, and the least in 1997.